Conducted by: F.L. Smollett - Trainmaster
Assisted by: B. Levesque - Asst. Superintendent
Also present: G.M. Prentice - Master Mechanic and G.F. Love - Local Chairman B. of L. E.
Statement of: W.H. MacDonald - Locomotive Engineer
Q. 1. Do you wish to have this investigation conducted in the English or the French language?
Q. 2. Please give your full name, age, P.I.N. number, date entered service and in what capacity?
Q. 3. Were you Locomotive Engineer on Work Extra 9548 on 9 March 1987?
Q. 4. Do you desire an accredited representative of the B. of L. E. To appear with you and if so,
state his name and if present?
Q. 5. When did you last qualify in U.C.O.R. (or other qualification) and when are you due for
Q. 6. When did you last qualify in V.C.S. & H. and when are you due for re-examination?
Q. 7. When was your watch last cleaned and examined?
Q. 8. Are you required to wear glasses, and if so, were you wearing them?
Q. 9. How long had you been on duty prior to the above occurrence and what rest did you have
prior to reporting for duty?
Q. 10. Are you fully familiar with the territory involved, work requirements, etc.?
Q. 11. Did you have a copy of the Operating Rules, current time table, special instructions and
Form 696 with you?
Q. 12. Do you acknowledge having been allowed to real all evidence submitted to this
Q. 13. Please relate what you know of the above.
On arrival at Brunswick Mines stop was made prior to entry onto their property to secure permission from security of that company by telephone as per Item 2.2 in the Nepisiguit Subdivision Footnotes on page 113 of Timetable No. 90. After permission was received train entered Brunswick Mines' property to perform necessary switching and the make up of our train.. Our first move was to drop the van on the main track which was then moved into tract B-221 by loader from Brunswick Mines. We then moved into track B-226 to pick up loads from that track. We then reversed an proceeded into track B-225 to pick up loads there. We then reversed and proceeded into track B-224 to pick up the remainder. Reverse movement was then made and we were to back clear of switch leading into track B-221 to pick up caboose. As I was moving backwards at approximately 2 to 3 m.p.h. Trainman Court contacted me on the radio and said that there 23 cars in the movement and that the air was not coupled. Also next to diesel unit was an empty covered hopper restricting my view of the movement. As movement proceeded back to approximately 20 car lengths from the switch, I had a full service application of independent brake and movement instead of decreasing speed increased and I knew then that I had lost control of it. I then applied emergency brake and they did not restrict the speed. I did not find out how many cars I had on until after the derailment. Speed increased substantially until just prior to derailment it was registering 70 - 72 m.p.h. As I made the emergency brake application I initiated an emergency call on channel 1. I then turned to channel 2 and called train dispatcher - Moncton to advise him of the situation and for him to initiate further emergency procedures. At the time I toned in the train dispatcher, Trainman Court was also calling the dispatcher. I then tried to apply hand brakes by leaving engine cab and going to the first car and climbing up on the first car to attempt to proceed back to opposite end where hand brake was located, but due to the wind velocity and no hand rail on the car, I was unable. I then proceeded back to cab of unit. I kept in constant with dispatcher advising him of the situation and also sounded engine whistle frequently to warn people on or about the track that movement was out of control. I was worried about train No. 14 which was in the vicinity at the time but was later assured it was by Nepisiguit Jct. Train dispatcher had attempted to have section forces open switch at Nepisiguit Jct. and I advised them to ensure that they stayed clear. I then sat on the floor of the cab to protect myself and movement derailed.
Q. 14. Were there any injuries as a result of this derailment?
Q. 15. How many cars do you usually switch at Brunswick Mines?
Q. 16. This would mean that while switching at Brunswick Mines movement would proceed out
beyond derail and encounter descending grade which starts at approximately Mileage 14.7,
Q. 17. When making reverse movement beyond derail is air normally applied to the cars?
Q. 18. Do you not feel that if air had been applied to cars in question that along with diesel units
they would not have run away?
Q. 19. Do you now realize that switching without air coupled at Brunswick Mines and having to
haul out past the derail unto a 1.19% descending grade was an unsafe practice?
Q. 20. Do you now realize that switching without air coupled at Brunswick Mines and having to
haul out unto a descending grade was a violation of U.C.O.R. General Notice, paragraph
1, which reads: "Safety is the first importance in the discharge of duty."?
Q. 21. Do you realize that as a locomotive engineer you are equally responsible for the
supervision of the safe operation of your train or movement?
Q. 22. Do you realize that this was a violation of U.C.O.R. Rule 106, paragraph 2? (Rule read
Q. 23. Are you familiar with U.C.O.R. Rule 108? (Rule read aloud.)
Q. 24. Are you familiar with Form 697 (Engine and Train Handling Instructions) Item 4.12 (a)?
Q. 25. Understanding this, the only component missing to be considered a train was a caboose
with markers. Do you understand that the safest move that you could have been mad in
this instance, would have been with the air coupled to the cars?
Q. 26. Do you feel that you would have been able to stop movement with 23 cars as you were
told rather than the 31 you actually had?
Q. 27. Mr. Love, do you have any questions to ask Mr. MacDonald through me?
Q. 28. Mr. Prentice, do you have any questions to ask Mr. MacDonald through me?
Q. 29. Your answer to Question No. 15 you stated that you switched with 10 cars to 40 cars,
what type of units were you pushing with?
Q. 30. If you had known that you had 31 cars on instead of 23 as you were told, would you have
made the reverse movement without the air with the type of unit you were switching with?
Q. 31. Mr. MacDonald, are you satisfied with the manner in which this investigation has been
Q. 32. Do you have anything further to add at this time?
(Document signed by Locomotive Engineer and Witness)