LRT maintenance director was on poorly maintained train that derailed in September

“And as it departed it kicked ballast up all over the platform. Immediately I knew it had been derailed.”

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Passengers on a train that derailed near Tremblay Station last September included the LRT maintenance director and his family, the LRT inquiry commission has learned.

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Rideau Transit Maintenance’s Steven Nadon told his story during an interview with commission co-lead counsel Christine Mainville in April.

Transcripts of interviews have been released over the past month, and on Tuesday the revelation that Nadon had been on that train came out during the inquiry hearing.

Nadon isn’t scheduled to testify during the hearing, but his transcribed interview provides his account of Sept. 19, 2021, the day an Alstom Citadis Spirit train left the tracks near Tremblay Station.

“I was on that train prior to its derailment. I got off at that station where it had derailed. I had my family on there, my grandchildren just going for a joy ride. We were taking the train and it was the first time on the train, they were excited,” Nadon said in his interview.

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As the train travelled between St. Laurent and Tremblay stations, Nadon said, he heard a “clinging sound beneath me and I thought a cable had come loose, or something was dragging.

“So I told my wife, ‘We’re going to get off at the next station because I don’t think this train is going to make it to our final destination, it’s going to get pulled out of service. We’ll just take the next one.’”

Nadon and his family got off the train at Tremblay Station, “and I was on my phone calling the control centre to say, ‘Take this train out of service,’ when the train departed.

“And as it departed it kicked ballast up all over the platform. Immediately I knew it had been derailed,” Nadon said, going on to describe how all the wheels weren’t on the rail and he was on the phone trying to get the train to stop.

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The train operator has told officials he didn’t feel anything, which Nadon in his interview said he could understand since the derailed wheels were far from the cab.

None of the 12 passengers still on the train was injured in the derailment. It was the second derailment in as many months on the Confederation Line.

The cause of the September derailment has been attributed to human error in train maintenance. Bolts on a wheel hub weren’t properly torqued before the train left the maintenance facility.

Nadon’s presence on the train as it was derailing wasn’t widely known, even among Rideau Transit Group subcontractors.

Alstom’s lead engineer on the LRT project, Lowell Goudge, testified Tuesday he had just found out Nadon was on the train.

Under questioning by city lawyer Jesse Gardner, Goudge said he didn’t know until sometime in the past week that RTM’s director of maintenance was on the derailed train.

Gardner suggested there was video capturing Nadon looking at the train at the station, and the lawyer noted Nadon didn’t physically do anything to stop the train, like prevent the doors from closing.

The commission investigation has involved several lawyers representing key parties protecting their clients’ interests and positions during the inquiry.

jwilling@postmedia.com

twitter.com/JonathanWilling

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