There were 75 passengers and five crew members on board the train at the time of the accident, in which all six cars of the train derailed.. There were numerous injuries to passengers and three fatalities, all VIA crew members who were in the locomotive at the time of the accident. They were Ken Simmonds, 56 years old, and Peter Snarr, 52 years old, both from Toronto, and both with more than 30 years of service as locomotive engineers with CN and VIA. The third was Patrick Robinson, 40 years old, of Cornwall, Ontario, a new VIA employee who was on board as an observer as part of his familiarization program.
“This is a truly heart-rending situation for all of us at VIA. Our sincerest condolences go out to the family members of our employees who died in the line of duty yesterday, and our thoughts and prayers to those passengers who were injured,” said Marc Laliberté, VIA’s president and chief executive officer. “Last night, we immediately began to investigate the accident in order to determine the cause or causes, and will continue until we find out what went wrong, and have put in place measures to prevent any such recurrence. We will be offering our full collaboration to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and Transport Canada in their inquiries, and will be working in concert with local authorities and CN, the track owner.”
Three passengers were airlifted to hospital with serious injuries, including a broken back, a broken leg and a heart attack. 42 other passengers and one crew members were taken to local hospitals. All but nine of these had been released by shortly after midnight.
Anyone seeking information about passengers who may have been on this train may call a special number set up for this purpose, at 1-888-842-6141.
VIA trains today will continue to be detoured or replaced by chartered bus service on the Toronto-Niagara Falls and Toronto-London-Windsor routes.