Rail company chief: Engineer failed to properly set brakes in Quebec train crash

  • Article by: DAVID CRARY , Associated Press
  • Updated: July 10, 2013 - 6:03 PM

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec — The head of a U.S. railway company whose oil-laden train crashed into a Quebec town, exploding and killing at least 15 people, blamed the accident on an employee who he said had failed to properly set the brakes.

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FrankLJul. 10, 13 9:33 AM

When a jet parks after a flight, they put wheel chocks to prevent it from moving, why can't the same be done for parked trains? maybe something like a Denver Boot for a train wheel?

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braxozJul. 10, 1312:29 PM

FrankL Jul. 10, 13 9:33 AM When a jet parks after a flight, they put wheel chocks to prevent it from moving, why can't the same be done for parked trains? maybe something like a Denver Boot for a train wheel?_________ Impractical, a train of 78 loaded tankers would weigh 11,000 tons and be almost a mile long. Each car has a hand brake so if they are to be left on a siding a certain number can be set. I can't remember if this train was left on the main line or on a siding. If on a siding, some railroads install derailers to prevent runaways. Rail World Inc runs railroads on the cheap - minimum crew - minimum labor costs - minimum maintenance - maximum profits.

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patasticJul. 10, 13 1:57 PM

This railroad CEO also said earlier that the fire department who put out the fire in the train before it started rolling should have tried to find the engineer, who was sleeping at a nearby hotel. B as in B. If you have a fire on one of your locomotives, wouldn't you try to track down your own employees? Isn't that your responsibility? Now, he throws his own employee under the bus? I'm thinking this railroad is run poorly and will be out of business soon.

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markapJul. 10, 13 1:59 PM

It is awfully premature to be blaming anyone. A thorough investigation needs to be done.

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braxozJul. 10, 13 2:25 PM

patastic Jul. 10, 13 1:57 PM This railroad CEO also said earlier that the fire department who put out the fire in the train before it started rolling should have tried to find the engineer, who was sleeping at a nearby hotel. B as in B. If you have a fire on one of your locomotives, wouldn't you try to track down your own employees? Isn't that your responsibility? Now, he throws his own employee under the bus? I'm thinking this railroad is run poorly and will be out of business soon._____________ Rail World Inc. runs shortline railroads which operate under different rules than the major railroads. It's start-up railroad was the Wisconsin Central Ltd. which they owned from 1987 until 2001 when it was sold to CP for $800 million and assumption of $400 million debt.

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khoffman11Jul. 10, 13 2:55 PM

"The head of a railway company whose train crashed into a Quebec town, killing at least 15 people, blamed the accident on an employee who he said had failed to properly set the brakes." That's quality leadership.

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braxozJul. 10, 13 3:49 PM

30 years ago, on an American major railroad, a train like this would have a crew of 4, engineer, front and rear brakemen, and conductor. Now the major railroads would run it with a crew of 2, engineer and conductor/brakeman. A new crew would take over from the old crew and the train would not be "parked". Apparently Burkhardt's railroad ran this with a crew of 1. The train had 2 or 3 engines, 78 60 foot long tank cars weighing 186,000 pounds apiece. (My math was off in my previous post - the train weighed about 7.7million tons)

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TommisJul. 10, 13 4:07 PM

braxoz--According to the Montreal Gazette, the train had 5 locomotives and 72 tanker cars. Regardless, your point about crew size and train security are spot on.

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thepointJul. 10, 13 5:55 PM

Braxoz, your math is still off. It's 7,254 tons, or 14,508,000 lbs.

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braxozJul. 10, 13 6:56 PM

thepoint Jul. 10, 13 5:55 PM Braxoz, your math is still off. It's 7,254 tons, or 14,508,000 lbs.__________ Don't forget to count the engines, that's why I said about. (Also, they tend to overfill the tank cars} Point was that the railroad was doing everything on the cheap. The MMA had to petition Rail Canada to operate 1 person crews. That size train is too much for one person.

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