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CP statement on TSB investigation concerning fire in Lytton, B.C.

(Source: Canadian Pacific Railway press release, July 16, 2021)

CALGARY — Canadian Pacific today issued the following statement on the Transportation Safety Board of Canada's ("TSB") rail transportation safety investigation (R21V0143) update concerning the fire in Lytton, B.C.:

The TSB posted an update yesterday regarding its investigation of "potential train activity-related fire" in the vicinity of Mile 98.3 of Canadian National (CN) Ashcroft Subdivision around the time of the wildfire in Lytton, B.C. on June 30, 2021.

The TSB said that "at approximately 16:50 Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), smoke was spotted on the nearby hills around the pedestrian bridge which parallels the Canadian National (CN) bridge at Lytton, B.C." According to the update, TSB deployed an investigation team on July 9, 2021 to gather information and assess. In a statement given to the Canadian Press, TSB Chair Kathy Fox said that a full TSB report on any train-related cause or contributing factors in connection to the Lytton fire could take up to two years. Clearly, at this preliminary stage, any conclusions or speculation regarding any cause of the Lytton fire or contribution factor is premature.

Additionally, Chair Fox is reported to have stated that it "is certainly a wake-up call to really look at what precautions need to be taken by railway companies..." In light of the early stage of this TSB investigation, we believe it is irresponsible and misleading for the Chair of the TSB to imply that railways are to blame for the fire.

To the best of CP's knowledge, the last train that passed through Lytton on CN's Ashcroft Subdivision before the fire started was a CN train known to CP as CN 731L. To clarify, while this train is CP equipment, with CP locomotives and railcars, it was transferred to the care, custody and control of CN at Kamloops in the morning of June 30, 2021, and was being operated by CN, using CP's locomotives, over CN's own tracks on the Ashcroft Subdivision. Transport Canada inspected that train on July 6 and confirmed in a letter dated July 7 that there were "no non-compliance or concerns" in relation to that train.

CP confirms that it has also inspected that train, as well as all other CP trains that went through the town of Lytton during the relevant time period on June 30 when we understand the fire started. Based on our review of train records, including contemporaneous video footage, CP has found nothing to indicate that any of CP's trains or equipment that passed through Lytton caused or contributed to the fire.

A review of the key facts confirms that railways are not a significant cause of wildfires in B.C., contrary to media and government speculation. The vast majority of wildfires are caused by nature when environmental conditions are extremely hot and dry, like those recently experienced in B.C.

Full story: www.cpr.ca

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

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