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Employee's Actions Prevent GO Transit Derailment

PNR RailWorks Director-GO Maintenance Ron Marshall, right, recognized Foreman James Filipchuk with PNR RailWorks’ “Extra Mile” award after James located a washout and helped avert a derailment on GO Transit's Bala Subdivision.

On one extremely stormy night in May, PNR RailWorks Foreman James Filipchuk went far beyond just doing his job well when he helped his customer in Toronto, Ontario, avert an almost-certain derailment.

Around 3 a.m., James was nearing the end of his shift protecting a Thermite welding crew on GO Transit’s Bala Subdivision at Doncaster South (mile 15.3). Impeded by heavy rain and high winds, PNR RailWorks was forced to pack it in. It would have been easy to let his mind shift to dry clothes and a warm bed, buy James kept his focus on the remaining tasks.

"En route to clear the men and equipment at mile 11.1, I could faintly hear the high-water detector in emergency at mile 4," he said. James requested extended time from the Rail Traffic Controller so that he could inspect a portion of the Bala Subdivision that runs alongside a flood-prone area just west of the Don River. He was given only a few minutes due to a CN freight train waiting to travel up the Bala Sub.

"I cleared the welding crew and continued patrolling southbound. As I approached the curve heading into mile 10, I noticed dark locations alongside the track, brought the hi-rail to a stop, and then noticed there was a significant washout." James found overflowing culverts and drains backing up, forcing water onto the tracks and undermining the track bed. He was able to advise proper authorities that conditions were impassible.

GO Transit Manager of Track & Structures Mel White praised James’ actions. "Had James not been proactive and requested time," he said, "we would have incurred a derailment, which may have caused loss of life but surely would have resulted in extensive delays to service on the Richmond Hill line."

"James’ actions were exemplary," noted John Leonardo, PNR RailWorks’ vice president of Business Development. "I’m proud that we have employees like James."

The official corporate description for RailWorks’ stated value of "Customer Focus" is defined as working hard "to get the job done well." PNR RailWorks’ customer GO Transit acknowledged James for doing at least that, presenting him with a certificate of thanks. And PNR RailWorks recognized James, too, with its "Extra Mile" award.