VIA Train Tragedy: a case in ineptitude

by Jack Locke

As it approaches the fourth anniversary of the deaths of Dylan Ford, Mitchell Bracken-Guenet, and Ricardo Conesa, fatally struck by a VIA Rail train on Oct 31, 2010, questions remain unanswered in my investigation into their demise.

“VIA passenger train P668-31-30, proceeding eastward and approaching the Turcot tunnel at mile 4.23 at 70 MPH on the South main track of CN’s Montreal Subdivision, struck and fatally injured 3 young men,” noted the federal Transportation Safety Board in a preliminary report.

But the report failed to answer whether the train engineer was drunk, was distracted momentarily by being on his cell phone, or had fallen asleep. The train had arrived 3 hours late, at 3 AM, when the train killed the boys.

Why was the train travelling at 70 MPH just before it was to enter the Turcot Tunnel?

A VIA Rail's exiting the Turcot Tunnel(file photo.)

A VIA Rail’s exiting the Turcot Tunnel. (file photo)

Why had the train engineer not seen the boys, had not applied his brakes, had not blown his horn?

Why did VIA Rail refuse my request for information on January 14, 2011?

Why have three concurrent Ministers of Transportation not looked into this tragedy? Or refused to disclose what they know?

Chuck Strahl.

Former Transport Minister Chuck Strahl.

Denis Lebel.

Former Transport Minister Denis Lebel.

Current Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.

Current Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.

Why did Quebec coroner, Krystyna Pecko, not do a complete examination of the operation of the train, but examined why the train had poor illumination of the track?

Why did the Montreal Police Service refuse to disclose whether they had conducted an investigation, when they were asked? Yet, disclosed that they had concluded their investigation.

After four years of probing into this sad occurrence, I still have no conclusive answer as to why this tragedy occurred.


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