Canada’s transportation safety watchdog is issuing a warning after two Via passenger trains were seriously damaged by material left on the track.

One of the incidents happened last week in Springhill, N.S., when a Via train travelling from Halifax to Montreal got a punctured fuel tank, broken windows and lacerations to belly plates and water tanks.

The other incident happened last month near Brighton, Ont., where a Via train suffered similar damage.

It turns out both trains were damaged by material that had been deliberately left between the rails in preparation for repair work that was to be done the next day.

In a warning issued Thursday, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) addressed its concerns to Via and CN Rail, which owns and maintains the tracks the passenger trains were running on.

The track materials included tie plates that were to be installed on the rails.

The TSB is recommending CN and Via conduct a risk assessment to ensure that Via trains will be able to travel safely through areas where work crews are preparing to work on the rails.

Fortunately, no one was injured in either incident but rail traffic was disrupted and passengers on the disabled Nova Scotia train had to be bussed to a nearby railway station where they could make alternate travel arrangements.

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