Photo from the Minot Daily News shows the scene
of the derailment that killed one local resident and injured
two rail crew members.
MINOT, N.D. -- Canadian Pacific
Railway says it is too early to know the cause of the Friday train
derailment that resulted in at least one death and dozens of
injuries, the Minot Daily News reports. However, Brotherhood of
Maintenance of Way Employees representatives say years of CP Rail
cut backs in track maintenance employees has a direct impact on
track conditions and workers are being pushed beyond their
BMWE spokesman Mark Wimmer said that since 1995, CP
Rail has cut 113 track maintenance workers from a 1995 level of 518.
There are approximately 200 track workers that maintain the line
from Portal to Minneapolis. "The work has exceeded the wherewithal
of the folks who work out there," said Wimmer.
representative John Bergene says the railroad keeps it tracks up to
standards with several layers of inspections.
Bergene said as
they use the tracks, train crews are also making visual inspections.
In addition, track inspectors look at the rails several times a
week. He said there is also electronic inspection equipment that can
detect cracks in rails.
CP Rail also has train car
inspection equipment spaced about 25 miles apart along tracks that
can detect cracked wheels and overheated wheel bearings.
Canadian BMWE is in the process of conducting a study that it says
will detail some of the problems with CP Rail’s maintenance
Gary Housche, of the BMWE in Ottawa, said the
report is 50 percent complete but said it will likely recommend that
CP Rail in Canada take away track inspections from supervisors who
also are responsible for meeting train schedules.
supervisors have a conflict of interest," said
Housche also says CP Rail needs to stop shedding
workers at a time when the volume of rail traffic is
"I would find that the results shouldn’t be
significantly different as far as the way maintenance is preformed
and the number of people required to perform the
Tyra Henschel, director of communications for
CP Rail, said it is too early in the situation to make allegations.
"It’s unfortunate that when we are all trying to rectify the
situation that they too are not focused on a similar effort," said
Henschel of the BMWE charges.