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Industry Achievement
Kevin Lihou, MSM and Donald Blain, MSM (2002)
In Memoriam

In MemoriamOn behalf of the employees of Canada’s railway industry, the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame is recognizing the high degree of professionalism exhibited by two Via Rail Canada engine service employees who were tragically killed in the line of duty on April 23, 1999, at Thamesville, Ontario. The actions of Kevin Lihou and Donald Blain seconds before their train derailed and struck stationary railway equipment located on an adjacent storage track prevented further risk of injury and death to many others involved in this unfortunate accident.

The Meritorious Service MedalAfter determining that a serious accident was about to occur that would affect not only their train but other trains moving on the adjacent main track, Mr. Lihou and Mr. Blain as the locomotive crew of Via No. 74 made an emergency broadcast from the locomotive radio seconds before the derailment and collision occurred. As a result of this broadcast, Via train No. 71 approaching Thamesville in the opposite direction at the time of the accident was able to make a safe and controlled stop, saving the lives or injury of other employees and passengers.

In addition, the quick actions exhibited by the locomotive crew on Via No. 74 in activating the engine stop switch prior to the collision occurring with the stationary railway equipment further mitigated a risk of serious fire and explosion.

The Meritorious Service Medal.Many owe a degree of gratitude to Kevin Lihou and Donald Blain. Their quick actions and compliance with established procedures despite the serious threat that was evident to their own lives exemplifies the dedication of these men to their work and to the safety of their fellow employees.

On February 20, 2002, Canadian National honoured the actions of Kevin Lihou and Donald Blain by renaming two line points on the CN Dundas Subdivision in southwestern Ontario — Lihou at Mile 61.6 and Blain at Mile 45.1 respectively. In addition to CN’s recognition of these employees, the entire Canadian railway industry is honoured to induct Kevin Lihou and Donald Blain into its “Heroes” category of the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame for 2002.

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