Canadian Pacific Railway and two of its former employees pleaded not guilty to charges laid in connection with the Greely incident, when a train carrying dangerous goods was allegedly ordered left parked with brakes uphill from Revelstoke.
CP Rail, along with Mark Jackson, the former superintendent of the company’s mountain division, and Tim McLelland, who worked inside the Calgary rail traffic control office, entered their pleas in Revelstoke court on Wednesday, May 3.
The trial is expected to last 10 days.
According to the information filed in court, they are accused of contravening the Railway Safety Act by not applying sufficient handbrakes to a train, and not applying additional physical securement measures.
The incident took place the night of Feb. 15, 2015, when CP Rail crews were about to go on strike.
According to a search warrant, the conductor of a train carrying dangerous goods called the yard to say they didn’t have enough time to apply the brakes before going on strike.
The warrant alleges a call came back ordering the crew to leave the train unsecured at the Greely siding, about 10 kilometres east – and uphill – of Revelstoke. The train was moved the next day without incident.
Still, the spectre of a train left unsecured evoked images of the Lac Megantic disaster, when 47 people were killed after a runaway oil train that was left unattended exploded in the middle of the small Quebec town on July 6, 2013.
Following Lac Megantic, Transport Canada issued an emergency directive that required all rail companies to ensure handbrakes were properly applied on any trains left unattended for more than one hour.
The federal agency launched an investigation into the Greeley incident and charges were laid in November 2016.