According to the Transportation Safety Board, the investigation was significant and found that a 157-car westbound coal train, operated by CN, was the last train through Lytton before the first report of the fire. It was traveling at 40 kilometers per hour and passed through the area of suspected origin of the fire at 4:30 p.m., about 18 minutes before the fire was reported.
The Transportation Safety Board has found no evidence that rail operations were involved in a fire that left the community of Lytton in ruins over the summer.
On Thursday morning (October 14), the independent agency responsible for transport safety released the findings of its investigation into a possible relationship between rail operations and the June 30 fire that followed record heat, killing two people and torching the majority of structures in downtown Lytton.
A press conference is expected to follow.
“The TSB conducted significant investigative work to determine if there was a definitive link between rail operations passing through Lytton, British Columbia, and the fire that destroyed the city on June 30, 2021,” said The report.
“The TSB investigation did not identify any link between the rail operations and the fire.
According to the TSB, the investigation was important and found that a 157-car, westbound Canadian Pacific Railway coal train, operated by CN, was the last train through Lytton before the fire was first reported. It was traveling at 40 kilometers per hour and passed through the area of suspected origin of the fire at 4:30 p.m., about 18 minutes before the fire was reported. The TSB stated that neither CN nor CP reported an occurrence to the TSB, nor when they became aware of it when asked.
The investigation also included inspection of the train, locomotive recorders and coal-like material from the scene. No anomalies were noted and the material collected had “little in common” with material collected from a locomotive exhaust stack and a rail crushing vehicle.
Load tests were also carried out on three locomotives of the train.
“During this test, the diesel engine is started up to maximum operating speed while the locomotive is stationary and power output is being measured,” the report reads. “No spark was observed during the load tests of any of the three locomotives. The locomotive exhaust stacks were also inspected and found to be free of carbon build-up. “
The TSB attempted to obtain satellite images of the area. but he was not available.
The TSB said further investigation is not warranted unless new information becomes available.
The fire is under investigation by the BC Wildfire Service and the RCMP is conducting a preliminary investigation to determine the need for a parallel criminal investigation, according to the TSB.
Read the full report.