In December we published “BC Rail Goes Straight Downhill — What privatization really means for working people and the planet” showing the clear decline of the railway. Now this process has taken a tragic turn.

There is no official cause for the derailment yet, but it is a safe bet that this train was going way to fast, racing to keep up with Canadian National Railway’s schedule. As the train hit a turn in the track near Lillooet, the engine jumped the tracks. It turned on its side and flew down a steep embankment catching fire. Don Faulkner, 59, and Tom Dodd, 55, were killed.

According to John Holiday (Don’s friend and chairman of United Transportation Union local 1778), Don had previously raised concerns about safety on the rail line. This tragedy highlights the inability of the private sector to maintain safety standards on British Columbia’s railways. There can be no more excuses. The lease of BC Rail to CNR must be cancelled immediately. It is a matter of public safety.

Our thoughts are with the families and friends of Don and Tom.  Fightback extends its deepest condolences to the Faulkner and Dodd families.