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Old 07-08-2013, 08:22 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Actually the reason has been solved - the train was parked in Nantes with the locomotive running and the air brakes pressurized. At that time the engineer left for a shift change. Sometime after that, a fire broke out in the locomotive due to a ruptured fuel line. Firefighters responded and put out the fire, but at the same time they made the decision to turn off the locomotive and the railroad was not informed. When the locomotive was disabled, the air brakes were depressurized which caused the oil cars to roll downhill and accelerate into downtown Lac Megantic where the cars derailed, collided, and exploded
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Old 07-09-2013, 01:37 AM
 
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I live next to a medium sized rail yard that is also close to a decline at the east end of the yard, ive noticed on occasion a worker putting a wheel chock on the rails next to the last car of a line of cars, also on the last switch out of the yard theres some kind of derailing device that will derail any cars that for whatever reason may start to roll down the hill. maybe in the Megantic incident some kind of manual rail brake should have been employed, makes no sense to me youd leave 5 running locomotives and 70+ cars unattended for a period of time,

A device like this would have prevented the accident.
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:32 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,492 posts, read 51,399,522 times
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Not prevented but relocated. That is a derailer device.

The story about the broken fuel line, fire and fireman at least makes sense and does not involve any evil intent. The error was not informing the railroad. This technology may look simple to an outsider but very much is not.
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Old 07-09-2013, 06:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW View Post
Not prevented but relocated. That is a derailer device.

The story about the broken fuel line, fire and fireman at least makes sense and does not involve any evil intent. The error was not informing the railroad. This technology may look simple to an outsider but very much is not.
The derailer device is usually placed near the cars usually connected to the switch leading out of the siding the train was parked on so although it certainly would have derailed a car or two very close to where the cars started to roll, it certainly wouldnt have derailed the entire train and would have prevented the runaway train that caused the catastrophe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derail

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaIQgNM_pMA
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:42 AM
 
Location: New York City
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:11 AM
 
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The good that will come out of this will be that trains are no longer left unattended in such a state so as to make any single unforeseen event a hazard to life.

Parking a train on a peak or rise with populated area below, leaving an engine running to supply a constant supply of air for the brake integrity, then checking into the motel across the street for a nights sleep seems like a recipe for disaster in itself without the fire in the engine or the inexperience of the fire crew not knowing that engine or another in the chain would have to remain running to keep the train from becoming the subject of Newton's Law.

What if kids desired to create some mischief? What if a disgruntled employee fired for drug use that morning wanted to exact revenge? What if that engine fire had gone unattended and spread to the entire train?

In terms of today's evironment of uncertainty; leaving a '70 carloads full of crude' train parked unattended with an engine running seems more than just fugging dumb at the outset. Just because it's always been done that way with no ill effects is no reason to allow a crazy safety and security risk to continue.

The company should have been ahead of the curve on this and instituted stricter protocols for securing a trainload of hazmat. Terrorists all over the planet are watching their TV's and running scenario's through their evil little minds as this all unfolds.

"Holy crap Muhammad; we don't have to run around gathering explosives; they're leaving trainloads of hazmat crap parked in rail cars in or near communities all over the damn country, with engines attached, even running, with no one around!"

Sheesh; four carloads of ammonium nitrate fertilizer headed for Alberta, two carloads of diesel headed for Saskatcehwan and a couple of those huge propane cars headed to Manitoba all parked on a hill outside Sudbury.....

A terrorists wet dream. I should imagine the education necessary to start up a couple of diesel locomotives would not be as difficult as learning to pilot a 747, eh?
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:22 AM
 
Location: New York City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruSan View Post
The good that will come out of this will be that...
Despite all those very good points, I imagine that it will be slow to never when all rail cars are properly secured. I think the biggest outcome of this will be to ensure that the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Southern States will get built to reduce civilian exposure to potential rail oil disasters
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BlakeJones View Post
Despite all those very good points, I imagine that it will be slow to never when all rail cars are properly secured. I think the biggest outcome of this will be to ensure that the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Southern States will get built to reduce civilian exposure to potential rail oil disasters
I agree about the slow to never and also about the optics of pipeline safety changing now.

I have a problem though with just the crude oil aspect as I've seen all sorts of hazmat stuff being either trained or trucked across the country and left parked without any oversight at all.

That train parked in such a manner defied common sense to the extent that if that running engine was necessary to keep the train stationary, what of a normal mechanical problem such as the failure of a lift pump to get the fuel from the saddle tanks up to the injection system? What if instead of slow burning crude, that train was made up of all those other components that have been used to create bombs such as that Oklahoma Ryder Rental Truck fertilizer bomb.

That town would not today be talking about rebuilding it's core. It would have simply ceased to exist in it's entirety. Surely rational minds are going to be chatting about that possibility over the next few months.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:44 AM
 
Location: New York City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruSan View Post
I agree about the slow to never and also about the optics of pipeline safety changing now.

I have a problem though with just the crude oil aspect as I've seen all sorts of hazmat stuff being either trained or trucked across the country and left parked without any oversight at all.

That train parked in such a manner defied common sense to the extent that if that running engine was necessary to keep the train stationary, what of a normal mechanical problem such as the failure of a lift pump to get the fuel from the saddle tanks up to the injection system? What if instead of slow burning crude, that train was made up of all those other components that have been used to create bombs such as that Oklahoma Ryder Rental Truck fertilizer bomb.

That town would not today be talking about rebuilding it's core. It would have simply ceased to exist in it's entirety. Surely rational minds are going to be chatting about that possibility over the next few months.
To be fair, you can't create ANFO without the FO, the fertilizer alone won't propagate the shock wave, it has to be blended with diesel. Any live explosives are always transported under guard. The bigger hazards are materials that are toxic to life like acids / cyanide / benzene / petroleum products / industrial chemicals / etc...

But yes, who the hell leaves a train full of hazmat unattended and not secured by anything more than the locomotive's ignition switch???
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:49 AM
 
18,282 posts, read 10,383,572 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakeJones View Post
To be fair, you can't create ANFO without the FO, the fertilizer alone won't propagate the shock wave, it has to be blended with diesel. Any live explosives are always transported under guard. The bigger hazards are materials that are toxic to life like acids / cyanide / benzene / petroleum products / industrial chemicals / etc...

But yes, who the hell leaves a train full of hazmat unattended and not secured by anything more than the locomotive's ignition switch???
I get your point.

In this case it would seem all that would have to have been done to accomplish that terrible event would be to have gained entry to the cab and shut the damned thing OFF. Cripes that's frightening.
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