Safety Advisory: Securing trains on grades



The following advisory is meant to notify certified railways of a Minister’s Order that was issued to federal railways regarding the potential risks associated with stopping trains on mountain grades without the proper application of handbrakes.


On February 4, 2019, a Canadian Pacific Railway train, Number 301 was proceeding westward to Vancouver BC when the train was brought to a stop on a mountain grade using an emergency brake application. After a period of time, the train began to move and accelerated to a speed in excess of the maximum track speed and derailed. A total of 99 cars and two  locomotives derailed and the train crew was fatally injured.  

Although the exact cause of the above noted accident remains unknown, a Minister’s Order was issued to federal railways supported by Transport Canada, highlighting that:

  • When a train is stopped by an emergency brake application on a grade of 1.8% or greater, immediately apply a sufficient number of handbrakes in accordance with the “Minimum Required Number of Hand Brakes for Securing Equipment or Movements Left Unattended” chart contained in CROR 112, before recharging the air brake system to prevent involuntary movement of the equipment.

Though the Minister’s Order was directed at federal railways, it remains best practice for provincially certified railways to take the same precautions. If your railway is unclear on the application of rule 112, please contact Technical Safety BC or any other recognized qualified person(s) for clarification.

Additional Information

For additional information please contact Technical Safety BC’s Railway Program administration at 778‐396‐2044 or email at



Arne Vigen
Technical Leader, Railways
Technical Safety BC