Major Train Wreck in Canada :(

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Atshen, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    On Friday night, July 5, much of the downtown of the 6000-people city of Lac-Mégantic was destroyed when a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded. Five deaths have been announced officially by now, but many more are still to come without a doubt, since around 40 people are still missing.

    Many of the missing people were hanging at a downtown club, the "MusiCafé", where a birthday party was held and two musicians were playing. Some people managed to escape, while being chased by a tidal wave of flaming petroleum.

    Some young witness described the events as "a firestorm".

    About 1000 people had to be evacuated from their homes because of toxic fumes, and some oil made its way into the lake, which means consequences on the environment and possibly on some municipalities' drinkable water sources.

    Some links:
  2. sloasdaylight

    sloasdaylight Inactive

    Feb 4, 2009
    Tampa, Florida, US
  3. Immigrant

    Immigrant In Memoriam

    I just saw an overhead view of downtown there. Unbelievable. Reports say the engineer wasn't on board and it came loose while parked.
  4. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    oh man, this is horrible!!
  5. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    This makes me really mad , because our rail system has been budget cutted to the point of this now.
  6. Kaa


    Sep 28, 2004
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Wow. condolences to all involved.
  7. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    The safety systems in North American railroad systems pale to what the Europeans have, and in some cases had since 1936, such as the German indusi and sifa systems (protection against operator falling asleep and automatic enforcement of read lights, and either one of these things would have stopped a runaway train like this one).
  8. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Indeed. There was a fire incident aboard the engine a couple hours before, reportedly due to a leak from a fuel hose. Firemen had to turn off the engine, but it's still unclear if it was restarted and/or if the brakes were checked, which should have been done by the Montreal Maine Railway people (the company owning that railway).

    So it is believed that the train started moving by gravity, since there is a pronounced slope from where it was parked to the city (about 12km further).
  9. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    And dozens of lives could have been saved...
  10. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
  11. Rumour has it that the Company the owns the train is in the habit of buying old trains that no one else wants and using them. Could have been a factor in it. Rail needs more safety regulation, more so when it involves the movement of fossil fuels.

  12. Horrific accident. My thoughts go to those involved.

    In the UK, our equivalents were the GWR ATC, then AWS & now it's TPWS. However, they're not infallible.

    If the brakes are defective (& there are several ways of achieving that with a Westinghouse system), no amount of automatic features can stop the thing if it gets away.

    I suspect that any investigation will centre on this (as well as the Driver's actions prior to booking off), as this might have resulted in the destruction of brake pressure. If it wasn't inspected after that event that's another matter altogether…

    See above, the systems aren't infallible - none of them are. All it takes is a freak set of circumstances to render them useless. Whilst a lot can be done by way of protective automatic systems, the two biggest threats to safety are a complacent attitude and/or a random & unforeseen event. Put the two together & it can result in a nightmare scenario.

    Not beyond the realms of possibility. In the UK we've seen what happens when a regime of planned & preventive maintenance is superseded by one of emergency repairs, as happened at Hatfield in 2000.

    In the UK, accidents are investigated first by the RAIB, who determine what (if anything) could have been done to prevent it. They then pass their findings on to the ORR who have the power to shut operators down if they deem it necessary. This covers all rail operators, including heritage & tourist railways.

  13. My heart goes out to those who lost loved one's, family or friends.
  14. duff beer

    duff beer

    Dec 2, 2007
  15. I don't believe a thing that comes from Sun News, even more so in this case.

  16. duff beer

    duff beer

    Dec 2, 2007
    Some people have a hard time accepting opinons that differ than theirs... :D
  17. I read (daily) Globe & Mail, National Post (right wing), and The Huffington Post (Centrist). I also read MacLean's. I think my news reading is rather well balanced.

  18. Well, that was interesting… can't say I care much for the guy's mad anchorman skillz, but there you go.

    I'm not convinced it's a valid strand of enquiry based on what little we know - it's a big step from chaining yourself to a fence to the level of deliberate sabotage that's being suggested.

    My money is lying elsewhere. A completely inadvertent & ostensibly logical action that had horrific & unforeseen consequences.

    Wait for the Black Box data. If the loco was indeed shut down, that'll be timestamped & will give a very precise idea of who did what.

    Still, all this speculation & conspiracy theorising doesn't help the victims, or their families & friends. Whatever the cause, there's people not coming home that ought to be. May those that lost their lives rest in peace & may those left behind get some kind of closure.
  19. TOOL460002


    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz
    I should do the research... but I wonder if it still makes economic sense to transport fuel, or other flammable, or otherwise toxic chemicals by train, as opposed to plane. I want to say that it makes more sense to do it all by rail. There aren't a lot of options. I don't want to come off as "deal with it," but there are some things that have to go by rail. I want to see numbers that say transport by train is much more dangerous. And, if it is, I want to know about the costs.

    I feel for the dead. I would hate to die, or have my family/friends die from something preventable, but sometimes it's economics, and many companies simply play the numbers and are ready for accidents like this. I don't know if it'll change. I don't doubt SOME changes will be made. I HOPE there will be changes. But it's just a numbers game for those "in charge."

    Aim sure someone or something takes the blame. Then it just goes on and on. This will not stop anything.