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Canadian freight train derails, explodes


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#1 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 06:16 PM

A runaway freight train carrying 73 crude oil tankers derailed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, splling the cargo and causing a massive blaze. The train was operated by Montral, Maine, & Atlantic. It apparently originated in North Dakota and was travelling to New Brunswick.

 

I can't think of why this train would lose control and derail. Where did the engineer go?


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#2 Acela150

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:33 PM

The train was in a siding waiting a new crew to take over the train. 


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#3 CHamilton

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 07:54 AM

More information.

http://www.thestar.c...ts_to_flee.html


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#4 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 05:55 PM

Some stunning high-res pictures here. Five are now confirmed dead but 40 still missing.........It was a warm evening and the bars would have been packed at 1am when the derailment occurred.  In one of the pictures here (#5) you’ll see what’s left of an outdoor patio and bar.

 

http://www.spiq.ca/v...ntic/index.html

 

This is the former CP line that crosses Maine and was once the route of VIA's Atlantic.



#5 OBS

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 07:51 PM

Some stunning high-res pictures here. Five are now confirmed dead but 40 still missing.........It was a warm evening and the bars would have been packed at 1am when the derailment occurred.  In one of the pictures here (#5) you’ll see what’s left of an outdoor patio and bar.

 

http://www.spiq.ca/v...ntic/index.html

 

This is the former CP line that crosses Maine and was once the route of VIA's Atlantic.

Thanks for the link.

I wondered if it was the former Atlantic line.



#6 OlympianHiawatha

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 08:36 PM

The NBC Nightly News (for what it is worth) reported Sunday the cars themselves came uncoupled and rolled back into town.  Of course they did not elaborate.  But if that is the case assuming the engine was idling and air was still set they should have braked as soon as the hose came uncoupled.



#7 cirdan

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 05:48 AM

The NBC Nightly News (for what it is worth) reported Sunday the cars themselves came uncoupled and rolled back into town.  Of course they did not elaborate.  But if that is the case assuming the engine was idling and air was still set they should have braked as soon as the hose came uncoupled.

Unless there was some form of sabotage at work here.

The news report says the engineer parked and secured the train before checking into a hotel, and unless he made a mistake, it would be nigh on impossible for the train to start of its own accord.

 

I guess that even if the air brake was not applied, that air leaking out of the pipes would cause the brakes to gradually come on.



#8 AlanB

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 06:02 AM

I guess that even if the air brake was not applied, that air leaking out of the pipes would cause the brakes to gradually come on.

If the engineer had failed to apply the air brakes after pulling the train in, my guess is that it would have started rolling back to the town before he even got off the train.
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#9 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 06:38 AM

This incident has added fuel to the fire in Delaware City, DE where they have already been protesting the plans of having oil delivered to the refinery by rail cars.

#10 cirdan

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 01:26 PM


I guess that even if the air brake was not applied, that air leaking out of the pipes would cause the brakes to gradually come on.

If the engineer had failed to apply the air brakes after pulling the train in, my guess is that it would have started rolling back to the town before he even got off the train.
 
I'm not sure. Sometimes a sudden gust of wind or even vibrations caused by something totally unconnected can cause an unsecured vehicle to start moving.
 
For an entire train too start moving would require a bizarre concurrence of extremely unusual circumstances, but would not be entirely beyond the impossible.

Edited by cirdan, 08 July 2013 - 01:27 PM.


#11 Guest_jimhudson_*

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 01:56 PM

Great pics! It's a  Real Tragedy! :( RIP to the Dead and Speedy recovery to the Injured!Most  Major cities have adopted Hazardous Material Routes on the Highways that run through Populated Areas but with Railroads still running through the Middle of so many Towns it is nigh impossible to Re-Route these Trains to miss Populated Areas!  Austin is finally considering a Hazardous Materials Ordinance because I35 runs right through the Middle of the City! The UP Tracks will be another Story since it would take Billions to By Pass Austin the way it has Grown! 

 

Most folks don't realize how much Hazardous, Really Dangerous  Stuff passes through their Town Day and Night on Trucks and Trains , if they knew they might become more involved! West Texas will never Recover from the Factory Explosion that happened this year and there are literally thousands of places with  such time Bombs waiting to go off!



#12 CHamilton

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 04:47 PM

Via Facebook:
National Dream Renewed 

 


Transport Action grieves for the loss of life in Lac Mégantic, a town on the former CPR mainline through Maine. The centre of town was wiped out with around 40 people killed by a runaway tank car train that derailed and exploded there after inexplicably leaving Nantes, Qc where it had been tied down at the end of a shift. While unattended, one of the locomotives had an engine fire, but this extinguished by local firefighter, according to RDI (CBC continuous news in French). 

There are reportedly three crude oil trains per day over the Montréal, Maine and Atlantic Railway*, with crude oil coming from the Bakken Formation in South Saskatchewan bound for the (Irving?) refinery in Saint John New Brunswick. The amount of crude oil moved by tank car in Canada has grown twenty-fold since 2009, the newspapers report. 

An excellent analysis of the movement of crude oil by train is to be found in TRAINS Magazine August 2013 - "Oil traffic reigns on the railways". The article contests the oft-made claim that pipelines spill less oil than rail: per million ton-miles pipelines spill 2.56 gal. (U"S") and rail but 0.13 gal. The article is by David Thomas, a business writer from Alberta. 

Rail news services have so fare reported nothing in daily e-mail bulletins, although most of today's are not yet in the in-box, so we'll have to wait and see, but the usual sources are silent. The summer weekend is a factor, prudence is another, the international boundary too, but Canadian rail advocates have been very quiet, except for Denis Allard who made claims about "unsafe" older tank cars (La Presse)

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#13 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 06:19 PM

While it will probably take a while to figure out the exact circumstances of this tragedy, here is an interesting article on the history and properties of train air brakes to chew on.


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#14 chakk

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 09:53 PM

Reports I have seen indicate that the train crew had left the engine for beans, and for some unexplained reason the train brake lines bled off and the cars started rolling.   Don't know how much of a grade is required to get a stopped train of tank cars to start rolling, but another report indicates that their speed increased to near 60 mph before derailing on a curve in town.



#15 Anderson

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 12:52 AM

A second, if rather morbid, question in a different respect: How long until the MMA goes bankrupt from this?  It seems like they're going to end up on the hook for this; unlike BNSF or UP (who though they would feel the pain, could absorb a massive judgment), they're not likely to have the sort of coverage needed for something of this magnitude (given the lawsuits we all know are coming).


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#16 Acela150

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 06:59 AM

This incident has added fuel to the fire in Delaware City, DE where they have already been protesting the plans of having oil delivered to the refinery by rail cars.

 

That Oil Train 64R Loaded and 65R Empty, drives me and a ton of other railfans crazy. Twice a week it has a NS Heritage Unit(s) on it. 


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#17 jis

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 10:32 AM

There is some posting on misc.transport.rail.americas Usenet group from someone in Canada, that a series of events each OK in and of itself, led to the train losing its brakes. According to that set of postings here is what happened....

1. The Engineer parked the train, shut down three of the four units, and kept one unit on to supply brake air to keep the train stationary, and went off to a hotel nearby.

2. The engine caught fire.

3. The fire department came to put the fire out and in the process shut off the engine.

4. Unfortunately they neither tried to contact the railroad nor tried to find the Engineer apparently, and left.

5. The residual brake air bled out eventually releasing the brakes which set the train rolling.

6. The rest we have seen pictures of.

Don't know the truth or falsehood of this sequence, but this is what is being stated on the internet. As usual we will know the real story only after Transport Canada finishes its inquiry into the incident.

#18 Anderson

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 11:03 AM

Now I'm wondering if that failure to either [try to] contact the railroad or [try to] find the engineer would qualify as gross negligence.  That fact pattern would seem to shield MMA from at least some liability (and possibly all), since from what I can tell what they did isn't too far off of normal procedures.  The fire department might be the ones in hot water now.


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#19 jis

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 11:12 AM

If what I posted is true then yes the Fire Department may be in a bit of fire itself.

Now I'm wondering if that failure to either [try to] contact the railroad or [try to] find the engineer would qualify as gross negligence.  That fact pattern would seem to shield MMA from at least some liability (and possibly all), since from what I can tell what they did isn't too far off of normal procedures.  The fire department might be the ones in hot water now.

Edited by jis, 09 July 2013 - 11:41 AM.


#20 jis

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 02:17 PM

Some more info:

 

http://trn.trains.co...derailment.aspx

 

Apparently point 4 above is not entirely correct in my list. The Fire Department did contact the Railroad, and it is their guy who now appears to have been the clueless one. So the railroad would appear to be entirely on the hook by themselves.






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