Runaway train: Investigating a fatal CP Rail crash – The Fifth Estate

Runaway train: Investigating a fatal CP Rail crash – The Fifth Estate


[♪♪] All of a sudden you
hear on the radio, “The train’s out of control.” And you think like,
“Good God almighty!” What Daniel said to
him, is the word sketchy. “It’s sketchy,
there’s something going on, something happening that’s not
right so I got to go.” I was ordered to
stop investigating. Some conspiracy theory or
the truth not coming out, there’s no truth in that. I want to hold them responsible. ♪ [theme] [Train horn blaring] [Dave] What happened last winter
in the B.C mountains forever changed the lives
of three families. But not knowing why train 301
ran out-of-control has them demanding answers and set us
down a track in pursuit of one of Canada’s oldest
companies CP Rail. I got a call from dispatch to
go to Field to pick up a crew. [Dave] That night it was -28. Driver Rob Marshal brought a
relief crew up the mountain to take over a train. 301 had been forced to make an
emergency stop at the top of the hill because it was having
trouble with its brakes. Marshall remembers the
talk in the van as he drove. From what I can remember, their
conversation was simply about the processes of what they
were going to do that night, do the work and get going as
quick as possible on the train. Like, they were upset that they
had to work in the super cold weather and they got
called for this train. [Dave] The men in his vehicle
were thirty-three-year- old Dylan Paradis. Fifty-four-year-old
Andy Dockrell. Twenty-six-year-old
Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer. Normally an adrenaline junkie,
Daniel sensed something was wrong with the parked
train right before he boarded. Worried, he texted
his best friend. What Daniel said to
him, is the word sketchy. It’s sketchy, there’s
something going on, something happening that’s
not right so I got to go. [Dave] When Train 301,
with its problem brakes, first made its emergency
stop, the crew on board called a manager. They asked for instructions on
how to secure the parked train. We don’t know what
the manager said. But there was a
fateful decision. Instead of going car to car, to
crank on the hand brakes which would have held 301 firmly in
place they instead chose to rely on the emergency air brakes. Time was ticking. 301 was blocking CP’s
main route to Vancouver. By the time the new
crew arrived to take over, 301 had been sitting in -28
temperatures for almost three hours. Just on emergency brakes,
and because it’s so cold, the air was bleeding
out of the brakes. What was going on at that time? Well apparently, one person
had heard it on the radio and alerted everybody in the
bunkhouse what was going on, about a runaway on the hill, so
I guess everybody was glued to that radio in the bunkhouse,
and listening to everything that was going on. [Dave] This CP conductor fears
being fired for speaking about what happened that night. We agreed to
conceal his identity. Have you heard described what
the crew was calling out over the radio? I heard they were
calling out their speeds. I remember as it flew by, and
you could hear the brakes trying to be applied, like a
loud screeching sound. Because, he was trying
to apply the brakes, and this train is
constantly accelerating, so it was like, “eeeeeh!” [Dave] The train,
rolling downhill. Engineer Andy Dockrell
declared, “Emergency!” “Emergency!” “Emergency!” All of a sudden you
hear on the radio, saying like, “The
train’s out of control.” [Dave] Faster and faster 301
picked up speed winding down through the spiral tunnel in
excess of 50 miles per hour. Andy, had his
last communication, he said 56 or 57. [Dave] The speed limit was
maximum 15 miles an hour. Cell phones were going
off, texts were going off. This is what’s
happening in Field, multiple texts
all over the place. Play downs. It was very unnerving, because
you knew that he was like trying to slow it down, but it
wasn’t being effective. As the train is flying
by, I’m thinking like, “Good God, Almighty, like,
this train could derail and kill these people that I
just drove up here.” Then they went through
the tunnel and it was completely…complete
radio silence. And the RTC saying,
“Engineer Andy do you copy?” And that is very eerie, because
you knew that something was wrong. Hi ,Pam? Hi Dave, come on in. Thanks for having me. It’s good to have you. I’m anxious to hear. Take me to the moment
that you found out. I got a call at
seven in the morning. I thought it was, there’s a scam
going around where you get a call from somebody saying,
“I’m in an accident,” or, “your son’s been in an
accident, send us money,” or, he’s in jail. I answered the phone and
I thought it was that, because the other– the guy on
the other line was saying that there’s been an
accident, and he asked me if I was Dylan’s mother. I started screaming,
because one part of my brain, one part of my brain
still thought I was screaming at this scammer on the
phone, and the other part of my brain, I think, knew, oh my
god, that this is real. Are crews under pressure
to keep the trains moving? Of course we are. How? You’re told. You will take that train. [Dave] Train 301
flew off the tracks, smashing into the
side of the mountain. Engineer Andy Dockrell
was killed instantly. Conductor Dylan
Paradis crushed to death. Trainee Daniel
Waldenberger-Bulmer was thrown into an icy river,
severely injured. The trainee was still alive when
the first responders were on scene, and that was, I think
one of the CP foremen that was actually in the river
with him, holding him. [Dave] Daniel died at the scene. He had only been in his
position for three months. You know the guys who
were in that bunkhouse. I mean, what, what kind of
toll has this taken on them? It’s devastation,
mental devastation. [Dave] Workplace death
investigations are often shrouded in secrecy. The Transportation Safety Board
won’t issue its findings for at least another year leaving
the families fearing the worst. Who do you think is
responsible here? I know Dylan and his crew
didn’t do anything wrong. I hold CPR responsible. Their bottom line to
keep the trains rolling, no matter what, killed my
son and his crew mates. I want to hold them responsible. [Dave] She’s not
alone in her suspicion. We’ve discovered there was also
a police investigation into the crash. Conducted by CP
rail’s own police force. That’s right. CP investigating itself. For over a hundred years, CP
Rail has had its own company police service. Authorized to uphold the laws
of Canada along the railway. I was the primary investigator
of the file with regards to the derailment event
that took place. [Dave] This former CP
Police Officer began talking to witnesses and
gathering evidence. He even began looking into
possible negligence by his own company. But he says he was ordered to
stop investigating just one month after the derailment. Tataryn resigned
six months later. I was embarrassed to be a
part of this investigation. Well, you’ve got a police agency
that’s essentially running shop how they want without
anybody, um, making sure that there’s any police
due diligence. What were you after and why? I was after the
audio recordings, who at the time of the event
were being emitted over the air, over the radio channel, um,
essentially could include a dying declaration by the three
members of the rail crew on that train as they were
coming down that hill. And you asked for
it, and what happened? I asked for it
and it was denied. [Dave] Now CP police say Tataryn
worked alongside two other officers and dispute that
he was the primary investigator. They say their crash
investigation was thorough and resulted in no charges. They also say Tataryn resigned
when he became the subject of a
misconduct investigation. And they
concluded that Tataryn violated policies, and that he knowingly
and negligently or recklessly made false, misleading or
inaccurate statements in a CP Police report. Tataryn dismisses that. He says he left for a job at the
RCMP and says the real issue is what
happened to train 301. I can’t answer as to
what they were doing, but in my opinion, uh, I
would say it was some type of cover-up, or attempt to
not provide information. And if I was in the
shoes of the families, I would be asking a lot more
questions as to what took place. It’s been over ten months
now, we should have some sort of answers by now. [Dave] When we come back those
families demand answers about a string of
critical failures. There’s a compelling case on the
facts of criminal negligence. [♪♪] -How are you?
-Good. -I’m Cari, Daniel’s mom.
-Hi. I’m Pam, Dylan’s mom. [Dave] The crash of CP train
301 has left deep scars for the families of the crew,
killed on the mountain. We invited them to sit down to
meet each other for the first time. Les Paradis, Dylan’s dad. [Dave] We also asked
two experts to join, as we reveal what we’ve
discovered about the CP police investigation, and
about known problems with CP’s trains. And to ask who is responsible. It’s been over ten months
now, we should have some sort of answers by now. Did you know that there was
a criminal investigation? No, I had no idea. Nobody said nothing to me. [Dave] CP’S own police
investigator says he was looking into key questions. Was there negligence
on part of the company? Was there an order that was
given that maybe shouldn’t have been? And that a month into his
investigation after interviewing only a quarter of
the witnesses he was ordered to stand down. And the investigation was shut. They get their
paycheque from CP. They’re not going to– they’re
just gonna do what they’re told, anyway, what I would see. I’m going to tell you
something that CP has told us. They have said that he’s
a disgruntled employee. He tells a very different story. It wasn’t handled by the RCMP
or an independent body like the Calgary Police Service. It was handled by the
company police force. It should be…be
investigated, properly. [Dave] We’ve also discovered
that mountain route with the spiral tunnels
is a known danger. 25 derailments and runaways
in the last 25 years alone. [Nikki] The night prior to the
accident, we were laying in our bed and he was trying to sleep
because he knew he was getting called out that night. And I was playing
on my phone, and he just all of a sudden turned
to me, and he’s like, “I don’t know if I should
go to work tonight. Maybe I’ll call in.” And I said, “Oh?” And he goes, “Yeah, when it’s
this cold out, the air brakes don’t work very well
on the locomotives.” He didn’t want to go
to work that night? No. What you’ve just
told me is haunting. That he didn’t want
to go that night. So the day before, he had
virtually the same identical problem with the air brakes. He came down, he managed
to bring it to a stop. He filled out a
safety hazard report. He had it and investigators
found it among the wreckage. And our research has found that
there were similar safety hazard reports from other railroaders
about the cold, the brakes. These are things that
the company knew about. They had to have. [Dave] CP’s own manuals detail
how “cold weather increases air leakage in a train’s
brake system”, calling it a “major challenge.” Right after the accident, there
was a safety blitz where those old government grain cars,
and they took thousands of those cars out of
service to be repaired. -Right after the accident?
-Right after the accident. And we found research reports
published in 2018 where they knew that their inspections of
these grain cars were letting all sorts of problems pass. Just running junk. [Dave] Inspections, failing to
catch “many cars with zero or very low brake effectiveness.” It’s constant, what my son’s… last emotions, or the fear,
the terror he must have. He would have been worried
about the girls at home. That’s constantly in my mind. That’s what I said, on my
mind too, coming out that le– tunnel. And that straightaway…
to the Kicking Horse River, and uh… [Les] Well, you know it
would have happened fast. But they had a
few minutes to think about what was going to happen.
-Oh, total fear, total fear. I was gonna say, the fear
they must have been feeling. There is regulations, rules,
and policies to prevent stuff like this to happen. The aircraft wouldn’t run. Trucks wouldn’t run. Ocean-going shipping wouldn’t,
they’d never leave port in equivalent conditions. But why are the trains running? [Dave] Remember we told you that
when 301 first made an emergency stop, no hand brakes
were applied? Well, we obtained CP’s policy. It says when parked on that
mountain, hand brakes are necessary “if abnormal
conditions such as weather or poor braking train dictate…” And, you know, the management
and the politicians, and if it happened to their son,
their child, what about that? CP Rail, all–
-People are just people. –I mean, and then
it’s personal. But it’s personal to us. There’s a compelling case on the
facts of criminal negligence. Well, I agree with Leo. There is enough evidence
that is there to warrant an investigation by the police. I also understand that Transport
Canada is aware as well, and the need for
criminal investigations. The question here is, is there
the will to actually do so? [Dave] CP Rail’s CEO,
Keith Creel declined our request for an interview. And wouldn’t answer questions
about why the CP police investigation was shut down. We’ve got a fundamental
obligation to our fellow railroaders and the communities
we operate them through, a moral obligation to make
sure we operate safely. [Dave] So, our Mark
Kelley paid him a visit at a railroad conference
in San Diego, where he was keynote speaker. Mr Creel. My name is Mark Kelley. I work with CBC Television. -How are you, sir?
-I’m doing great. You were talking about,
in your speech here, about the moral obligation to safety. That’s correct. Yeah, what is the moral
obligation that you have now for the families of the victims
of that field house crash? We’re always gonna have a moral
obligation to the families of the field house. I personally met with the
families, and essentially, my commitment to those families
is to treat those families the same way I would want
my family to be treated. That was a tragic accident. We’ve spoken to one of your
former investigators looking into that crash. He’s concerned that CP
cut corners with safety. He’s concerned that
there’s a cover up right now. That the truth will not come
out in this investigation. What assurances,
how can you respond to this? Well, the investigation
itself is– we’ve told that investigator’s still under
the authority of the TSB. We’ve committed, and we are
going to respect the process. I can tell you, at the end of
the day, cutting corners, it’s not something that
we’re going to embrace. As far as some conspiracy theory
or the truth not coming out, there’s no truth in that
concern, that’s for certain. But the CP, you have
your own police force. Would you be open to
perhaps the RCMP coming in to investigate this? So there’s no even appearance
of a conflict of interest? We’ve worked in
lockstep with the RCMP from the very beginning. They still retain jurisdiction
over that investigation. If they wanna step in,
or research, or investigate anything that they haven’t
looked at prior to now, they’re certainly
welcome to do that. And we’ll work in partnership
to make sure we make the facts available to them
as we know them. We make mistakes, but at the end
of the day, we learn from our mistakes and we grow
stronger as a result. That’s what this
company will do. [Mark] Are you concerned
that mistakes were made in this incident? Again, I can’t comment to the
facts until I’ve looked at the facts, and I look
at them objectively. And if we have some, then we’re
certainly going to take action with them. That’s all,
no further comment right now. -[Mark] Thank you, sir.
-Thank you so much. [Mark] Thanks for your time. [Dave] The RCMP says
they’ve never done their own investigation. Though the Mounties say they’d
of course be willing to step in, if a request is made. [♪♪] [Laughter] [Dave] Is that
him with the kids? Yeah. Molly, and Meadow,
and his love, Jen. On his birthday, I would
make all his favourite foods. And we’d have a birthday feast
of all his favourite foods, one of them devilled eggs. When I went there
the day he was killed… there was a plate of
devilled eggs in the fridge that he’d made the night
before he went to work. A plate of devilled
eggs… can break your heart. [Sniffles] [Blowing raspberries]
[Laughter] ♪ ♪

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