Safety Advisory: Securement of trains on grades

Safety Advisory

Safety Advisory: Securement of trains on grades

April 7, 2020

Safety Advisory

Reference Number:

SA-RW 2019-01

This Safety Advisory is being issued to provincially-regulated railways and is subject to the Railway Act, Railway Safety Act, and associated regulations.



The following advisory is meant to notify provincially-regulated 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, 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 2 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.

Recommended actions

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


Arne Vigen
Technical Leader, Railway
Technical Safety BC

For additional information, please contact Technical Safety BC’s railway program administration at 778 396 2063 or email