VIA Rail Canada sues Ottawa over grade crossing accident

August 13, 2015

Via Rail has filed a $4.2-million lawsuit against the City of Ottawa for damages to the train, tracks and injuries to their engineers after a deadly crash between an OC Transpo bus and one of their trains.

In the lawsuit, Via Rail alleges that city negligence is to blame for the crash between a Route 76 express bus and a Toronto-bound train near the Fallowfield Transitway station on the morning of Sept. 18, 2013.

The crash killed five passengers and bus driver David Woodard.

A preliminary investigation by the Transportation Safety Board concluded Woodard was driving above the speed limit and failed to stop for the warning lights and rail-lowered crossing arms before hitting the side of the train. The TSB also noted that video screens in the driver’s area designed to allow Woodard to monitor passengers may have momentarily distracted him.

Among Via’s allegations are that the city failed to ensure bus drivers reduced their speed upon approaching the railway crossing, failed to ensure the speed limit on the Transitway was adequate given the curve in the road before the tracks, and knew or ought to have known that the configuration of the Transitway was dangerous.

“Via Rail incurred significant business losses relating to the loss of use of its rolling stock involved in the collision and disruption to it’s passenger service,” the lawsuit alleged.

Read the full story by reporter Andrew Seymour in the Ottawa Citizen by clicking here.

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