A train crashed into an ambulance on Sept. 11. 2015

TSB makes interim recommendations on fatal ambulance/train crash in Langley in 2015

The Transportation Safety Board says signals were confusing in the area where a senior died in a train/vehicle crash.

Read the original story from September 2015.

The Transportation Safety Board continues its investigation into the crash between a CN train and an ambulance that killed a senior last September.

The TSB has said road markings were faded or absent, and the timing of gates and signals were too short but has not completed its final report into the incident.

On Sept. 11, 2015, a northbound train hit the BC Ambulance rig at the Crush Crescent–Glover Road crossing.

The ambulance with two paramedics was transporting a patient, Helena Theodora Van Gool, 87, who later died of her injuries. The paramedics were injured. No one on the freight train was injured.


The TSB says the train was travelling 32 mph in an area where the permissible track speed was 35 mph.

“During a post-occurrence examination, it was determined that there were no pre-existing mechanical deficiencies on the ambulance that would have contributed to the accident,” the TSB reported.

So far the TSB has examined the ambulance for mechanical deficiencies, interviewed witnesses and downloaded information from the automatic warning devices installed at the crossing.

It has also evaluated the locomotive event recorder and the ambulance data recorder.

Investigators have also gone over the crossing design and traffic signals.

Though its final report is not ready, the TSB has issued a rail safety advisory to Transport Canada for the Crush Crescent-Glover Road crossing.

On March 17, the TSB issued the advisory about “safety issues arising from conflicting information given by the railway crossing and road traffic signals.”

The TSB has also issued a notice and order to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation, Langley Township and Canadian Pacific Railway, which owns the rail line.

“The Notice and Order indicated that the current timing configuration for traffic light pre-emption and warning system gate delay was inadequate for longer vehicles to clear the crossing safely. It was also noted that roadway pavement markings were either absent or faded, such that drivers were not provided with adequate information,” the TSB report said.

As a result, some changes have been made including the timing of the crossing gate drop, increased from seven seconds to 12 and increasing the road traffic signal pre-emption time from 10 seconds to 15 seconds.

“These changes were made so that the crossing would be more suitable for use by longer vehicles,” the TSB report said.

The TSB said the provincial Ministry of Transportation has responded to the advisory.

“The Ministry is working with CP to ensure the ongoing safe operation of this crossing and further enhancements are planned. These enhancements include an upgrade to the signal bungalow, relocation of the gate arm, and the addition of an active warning LED sign on Crush Crescent,” the TSB said.

The TSB is also following up with Transport Canada because there is possible confusion by motorists.

“The location of the two separate warning devices – one active and one passive – in a single place confuses road users, who think that it is safe to approach the gates when they are active,” the TSB said. “Because of the interconnection of the crossing warning system and the road traffic signals at this location, the systems can send a conflicting message to road users when a train is approaching: the traffic signals indicate green for go while the crossing warning system indicates stop.”

The TSB continues to investigate various issues related to the crash, including:

• The crossing design and the automatic warning devices, their interconnection with the traffic signals, and their timing at this location. It continues to monitor for any further safety action that may be taken, and

• The crossing and its operation; driver distraction and motor vehicle operation; driver training and supervision; and the operation of the trains approaching the crossing.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability. Learn more at www.tsb.gc.ca.

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