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CN Runaway Train Report Not Expected Until July

The results of a federal investigation into the derailment of a runaway train near Bathurst March 9 won't be known until the end of June.

An official with the Railway Transportation Committee in Moncton expected the Canadian Transport Commission in Ottawa would be dealing with the report on the investigation this week.

``It has to go to the committee, (and when that happens depends upon their workload. It may be this week... then we'll hear something,'' aid Lawrence Steeves, regional director of the RTC.

He said there is a possibility the RTC investigator, Vernon Mann, might travel to Ottawa to discuss his report with CTC officials.

``We'll know by the end of this week, or the first of next week if he has to go up,'' Mr. Steeves told the Northern Light.

He added that, if Mr. Mann's report on the March 9 derailment reaches the CTC committee this week, it would likely be another two or three weeks before the findings are made public.

The derailment occurred six kilometres south of Bathurst, and involved two locomotives and 30 cars carrying lead zinc concentrates. The engineer, Wesley MacDonald, was the lone passenger, and escaped serious injury.

The investigation was announced by the CTC under Section 226 of the railway Act because the derailment occurred the same day as another derailment in Nova Scotia.

Engineer MacDonald, in the meantime, was given a six-month suspension by CN, because operating procedures were not followed.

Mr. MacDonald stayed with the train out of concern for any pedestrians or motorists who might have gotten in the train's path, had he not been aboard to sound the whistle as a means of warning.

He is now being considered for an award of bravery.

CN conducted their own investigation into the derailment, but are refraining from public comment, at least until the CTC releases its report.

Meanwhile, CN is continuing the investigation into the derailment, said public affairs representative Catherine Dallaire yesterday.

``We still have a lot of questions to ask,'' said Dallaire.

One question plaguing the commission is why three crewmen were left behind when the train left, said Schnobb.

The train was operated by a lone crewman who left the mine without his conductor, two crewmen or a caboose. As well, the train was reportedly travelling 90 km per hour when it shot off the tracks into a field, said Hest.

Dallaire said she isn't sure how long CN's investigation will take.