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Trainmen Not Surprised

By Ray Burke

BATHURST (Special) -- Two senior crewmembers involved in a train derailment here earlier this year are not surprised by the outcome of an investigation by the Canadian transport Commission.

In a report released Tuesday, the commission blamed the four-man crew of a CN Rail ore train for a derailment March 9 that caused just over $1 million damage on a spur line near Brunswick Mining.

The crew lost control of the train that was being loaded at Brunswick Mining and the train sped down a 20-kilometre incline before it derailed on a curve while traveling at 110 kilometres an hour.

The speed limit on the spur line leading to the mine site is 50 kilometres an hour.

The only person on board the runaway train was engineer Wesley MacDonald. He escaped serious injury. MacDonald is not surprised he and the conductor and the two brakemen are getting the blame.

``i've never seen these investigations go the other way,'' he said.

MacDonald has been a CN Rail employee for 42 years and at the moment is still waiting out a six-month suspension handed to him following the derailment. Also suspended for six months was conductor Laurie Sturgeon. He and MacDonald are both bitter about their treatment by CN.

``CN is a great place to work but I wonder about the people running it,'' said Sturgeon.

He and MacDonald have both lodged appeals of their suspensions through their union. Neither will comment further on the circumstances surrounding the derailment, but both said they would have a lot more to say about the incident after they retire.

MacDonald is 59 and Sturgeon, 40.