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Train derailment sparks major fire in Quebec's Eastern Townships

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posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 06:07 PM
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Originally posted by donlashway
reply to post by Montana
 


Just heard on the NBC news engine not with car, read above.
Video I watched had tanker cars lined up to cars on fire, last tanker had flashing red light.

Montana:
These air brakes are not like tractor trailers? Need air to release? Air pressure to stop instead?

Getting stranger with each new data release...
edit on 7-7-2013 by donlashway because: (no reason given)


Train air brakes are similar to trailer brakes. To release the brakes requires an increase in air pressure, to activate them requires a decrease in pressure. However, it is possible for air brakes on train cars to spontaneously release after being set for a period of time. It happens very seldom, and never more than a few cars in a train. But this is why we are required to use physical brakes to secure an unattended train rather than just the air brakes.




posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 06:11 PM
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Originally posted by donlashway

Just thinking could someone have separated the cars from the engine thinking they would throw siding switch and run the tankers into the industrial siding separately?


Not likely at any place other than a loading/unloading facility. It is possible that the engine was disconnected from the train due to the fire it had previously and the train was intended to continue with out it. But then why would it follow the rolling train? I don't know.



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 06:32 PM
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Originally posted by Montana

To me, this would indicate human intervention. However, are you sure they found the HEAD engine and not the REAR engine?


When i think about it, everybody has been saying the train has been going down the hill backwards... but it makes more sense if it was going forward, and the engine that was detached and left behind was the rear engine. It was found 1km behind the crash.

This is confusing for people who know nothing about trains!



If the engine with the fire was indeed part of this train (meaning the engine that was on fire in the photo on page 1), this suggests to me that some of the information you gave us is incorrect. In the photo you see an individual engine connected to a freight car. The press release from the railroad states that the train had five engines. In order for this engine to be part of that train and in normal operations, i would expect any single engines to be on the rear of the train and operated as distributed power from the lead engine.


Something doesn't add up, i agree. The picture shown on the first page of this thread is the one they keep showing us in the news, so i would say yes, this is the train we are talking about. Why doesn't it fit with the press release from the train company? I have no idea. The train company has been very silent so far. In the news, they have confirmed it is the same train that crashed though.

They just interviewed the head firefighter that went to the call to put down the fire on the engine, 2 hours before the crash. He said it took them 45 mins to put it down. He said some mumbo jumbo about fire being in the engine, oil was involved, while the news mention a diesel line. The firefighters left after the train engineer inspected it and said it was fine.




In either case, to find a single engine sitting by itself a large distance from the rest of the train suggests something sinister to me. It suggests that the alerter system attempted to stop the rolling train but was defeated by the prior actions of *SOMEONE*.

That being said, I have seen enough weird and unexplained things happen on the railroad that I am reluctant to say that this could not have happened by pure chance. But it's pretty unlikely.


I agree with you, this smells fishy. The police decided to declare the whole site a criminal scene. So hopefully there is a thorough investigation performed.
This is the second derailment, in the same general area, from the same company, in the past month.



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 07:05 PM
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OK, something just occurred to me.

The engineer went from Nantes to a hotel in Lac Magentic. With no vehicle brought by a relief crew, how did he get there?

Witnesses are saying the train rolled backwards down from Nantes with no lights showing. The train would have been rolling forward, and there would have been several engines on the front. There would have been at least walkway lights showing even if the headlights were turned off.

It is possible that the engineer placed the train into emergency brake status and disconnected the lead engines, using them for transportation to the hotel. The relief crew would have been instructed to get on the engines there and run them back to the train. This would have been both legal and logical, assuming the train was secured with hand brakes as well.

A train rolling forward with no engines on the front but one remote engine on the back would look like it was rolling backwards, wouldn't it?

But still, it comes down to whether there were hand brakes applied on the standing train when he left. If so, someone would have had to remove them and the air brakes from the individual cars.

If he didn't apply handbrakes he will spend the rest of his life in prison. I sure hope not.



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 08:24 PM
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reply to post by Montana
 


Well, there is a photo in the news report showing the tank cars, lead two fine, all behind stacked up. Looks like they were going into that industrial siding. As I said first two fine, no damage strait on siding track, what if there was a track blocker that way that stopped them? Cars not all smashed up, just side ways all stacked up, perpendicular to track, so not going very fast.

News report says last 13 cars were pulled back away from the fire, again it wasn't going fast.

Three or more tracks there; industrial siding, side storage siding (small yard) and main line. The two intact cars on far left rails ( in direction of travel south); the industrial siding.

Just guessing the plan was to send the loose cars that way but it derailed instead. Maybe the thought was the cars would jump the track block, but they just stopped and the others being on multiple switch rails derailed and stacked up.
Trying to figure out what happened?
Switch wouldn't be in that direction unless they were there running cars to factory.
edit on 7-7-2013 by donlashway because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 08:51 PM
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reply to post by donlashway
 


The train's destination was in Maine. Unit trains such as oil, grain, or coal are almost never separated or switched around. They are considered 'sets'. There would be no reason to put cars in an industry track in Lac Megantic.
This track system appears to be controlled by track warrant and has no electric switches controlled by a dispatcher or other operator. In this type of operation switches may be left in either position and a warrant will specify the train must stop to line the switch for it's movement. Also, if the engineer had run the engines down to Lac Megantic, it would make sense for him to put them in the industry instead of leaving them on the main. I would imagine those would have been moved as soon as possible after the derailment which is why they are not in the picture. It is not unusual for the lead cars to not derail. Sometimes they make it while others lay over. Might have something to do with how new the suspension springs on those cars were. Newer springs would fare better than old ones I would think.

But, really, we are just guessing at this point.



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 08:59 PM
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reply to post by Montana
 


Not the company someone that caused the mess.

The engine and 13 cars that were pulled away were in the back.

pic

photo 1 of 15 3/4 the way down page cbc news story page 3 of thread

And yes just guessing from what we can see, trying to understand.
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posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 11:04 AM
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UPDATE

The death toll remains at five. The missing are numbered imprecisely around 40.

Although the fires are out there are still dangers associated with hot fuel cars, so the disaster zone is still off limits. The state of emergency persists. Sniffer dogs are combing the area.

Some people are reintegrating their homes but many are only being allowed back under police escort to gather some basic necessities.

The train's black box has been recovered as has a braking recording unit.

The environmental impact has been met head on by all communities that obtain water from the Chaudière River which ends at Levis across the river from Quebec City in the Saint Lawrence River. Lake Megantic has repaired its damaged main pipe but there is a preventative boil water advisory.

The mayor requested that local citizens not return to work yet in unaffected areas.

Two medical clinics and a pharmacy were pulverized in the disaster. Alternate solutions are being planned.

Donations can be made to the Red Cross or Salvation Army.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 01:50 PM
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Originally posted by Montana
OK, something just occurred to me.

The engineer went from Nantes to a hotel in Lac Magentic. With no vehicle brought by a relief crew, how did he get there?


The Nantes fire chief was interviewed and said that after a citizen called about the engine fire, he called the railroad company, as they have a protocol already in place. The company sent out some rep or reps from Megantic to the site where they accessed the cabin and turned off the engine.

Now would the conductor have left to go to a hotel while the engine fire burned? Or perhaps he got a ride into town with the company rep/s who went to Nantes?

Would the fire response in Nantes have screwed things up somehow in the braking system?

A government rep is speaking out about the invisibility of the company since the accident, even though it has investigators on the scene somewhere. The people are becoming angry with its silence.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 03:01 PM
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No, turning off the locomotive would not have released the air brakes. It would have applied them harder. After an extended period (many hours) it is possible some may have bled off and released. But not enough to let the train move, and certainly not that quickly. Five minutes the farmer said? That seems a little too quick. to see the train move.

And even if the air brakes had all released, the rules require that enough manual handbrakes be applied to hold the train without them. And notice how the story has changed from "The engineer inspected the engine after the fire was extinguished and said it was fine before the firefighters left" to " The company called the firefighters and then went to look at the engine. This story has more revisions than a Microsoft Windows release!

Something stinks in Denmark...
edit on 7/8/2013 by Montana because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 04:01 PM
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reply to post by Montana
 


I wonder who in the train company is set to collect insurance money on this disaster.

A few people made a lot of insurance money on the twin towers in NYC.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 04:30 PM
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CBC Radio just announced that the death toll is up to 13
Still plenty of missing people



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 06:29 PM
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reply to post by Beartracker16
 


The police have now upped the missing list to 50 people, (this excludes the 13 found)

Transport Canada states that the engine filmed in Nantes was inspected the day before and no infractions were noted.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 08:50 PM
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I am wanting to say that these cars hit an object holding something more volatile than just crude oil. From what I've seen and can make out from the aerial views of the aftermath. It looks to me like this thing derailed in a small rail yard right in the middle of town. If that was and or is the case, then who knows what kind of fuels could have been setting in that yard at the time of the derailment. The reason for this is that sheet crude oil, the product this train was carrying, has a very low flash point temperature. Plus, who really knows how many propane and or LPG tanks were in the area close to the tracks were there at the time.

There is another thing that you guys are completely going over and missing.

Whenever you stop or park a train on a grade like this one was. You are supposed to set the handbrakes on an appropriate number of rail cars that the operating rules apply to. This is done to keep the train from rolling and start running down the grade. To say that shutting off the engine would disengage the brakes is a bunch of bologna. When you shut a locomotive down with the brakes applied when the train is stopped. Shutting the locomotive down will activate both the train brakes and the locomotive brakes which basically makes it impossible to move with out restarting the locomotive or locomotives. Unless there was something wrong with the braking system itself. Then the train shouldn't have ran away like it did.

The only other way that the brakes could have been the problem is that there may have been a small leak in an air hose. That small air leak could have been the protagonist into causing the brakes to release with no one causing them to release. Over time, brake hoses will deteriorate to an extent where they have to be replaced on a semi regular basis. The rubber air hoses that are used to help with sending air to the brakes do become brittle over time and are subject to failure. If there was a defect with the braking system on the train. That defect could have been reducing the amount of air that had been sent to the brake cylinders on the cars.

After hearing and seeing all of the reports on CNN, Fox News, and the rumors on the rail fan boards. I believe that the reason behind this incident may have been a case of simple human error. If it does turn out to be a case of human error, it would be a disheartening conclusion to a tragic accident. If it turns out not to be then someone did not abide by the operating rules that are set by the railroad involved. Whoever the crew was on that train before they stopped and got off. They are going to live with this in the back of their minds for the rest of their lives.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 11:15 PM
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Originally posted by gimmefootball400
I am wanting to say that these cars hit an object holding something more volatile than just crude oil...... The reason for this is that sheet crude oil, the product this train was carrying, has a very low flash point temperature. Plus, who really knows how many propane and or LPG tanks were in the area close to the tracks were there at the time.


This was a unit oil train coming from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. Much of it is labeled as crude, but the flash point varies enough in the different methods of processing that some of the crude trains are labeled as key trains. Some of this stuff is almost light enough to not require refining. I don' t have any problem believing it exploded seeing as how the cars were pressurized which would have created a fog of volatiles. This would have gone off with any spark.

We have been discussing the brake system for a couple of pages now, glad you agree with us! It's nice to know I didn't make a mistake.


After hearing and seeing all of the reports on CNN, Fox News, and the rumors on the rail fan boards. I believe that the reason behind this incident may have been a case of simple human error. If it does turn out to be a case of human error, it would be a disheartening conclusion to a tragic accident. If it turns out not to be then someone did not abide by the operating rules that are set by the railroad involved. Whoever the crew was on that train before they stopped and got off. They are going to live with this in the back of their minds for the rest of their lives.



Yes, after reading the latest statement from the railroad The reason is now clear.

In the statement MMA says "The engineer set the airbrakes and applied handbrakes on the engines and some of the cars, but not enough to hold the train without the aid of the airbrakes". That's an admission of guilt right there.

They blame the firemen shutting down the engine for losing the brakes, but as we have talked about before, that would not have released the air brakes by itself. I think the investigation will show that the firemen bumped the air brake lever in the cab (or moved it with out knowing what it would do) and caused a partial release before the engine stopped.

Reuters story containing the statement.

Assuming the MMA operates under the Canadian Rail Operating Rules, the following rule covers the situation...


112. Securing Equipment

(a) When equipment is left at any point a sufficient number of hand brakes must be applied to prevent it from moving. Do not depend on air brakes to hold a train, engine or cars in place when left unattended. Engineer and conductor are jointly responsible, through job briefing, to ensure equipment left unattended is properly secured and a sufficient number of hand brakes are applied to prevent movement. If handbrakes are not adequate, block the wheels. When the engine is coupled to a train or cars standing on a grade, do not release the hand brakes until the air brake system is fully charged. When cars are moved from any track, apply enough hand brakes to prevent any remaining cars from moving. Special instructions will indicate the minimum hand brake requirements for all locations where equipment is left. If equipment is left on a siding, it must be coupled to other equipment if any on such track unless it is necessary to provide separation at a public crossing at grade or elsewhere.

(b) Before relying on the retarding force of the hand brake(s), whether leaving equipment or riding equipment to rest, the effectiveness of the hand brake(s) must be tested by fully applying the hand brake(s) and moving the cut of cars slightly to ensure sufficient retarding force is present to prevent the equipment from moving. When leaving a cut of cars secured, and after completion of this test, the cut should be observed while pulling away to ensure slack action has settled and that the cars remain in place. CANADIAN RAIL OPERATING RULES—December 12, 2012 57


Obviously this process didn't happen.

Anyone want to buy a railroad? Cheap?
edit on 7/8/2013 by Montana because: add link to story.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 11:44 PM
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Never mind. After looking more closely at the photo in question I believe that is and older style engine not a car as I thought earlier behind the engine on fire. Either that or a caboose. Hard to tell.
edit on 7/8/2013 by Montana because: I was mistaken



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 11:58 PM
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Thanks guys for your comments, it helps us understand.

Is it normal for an unattended parked train to be unlocked? I'm asking this because a reporter found a MMA train that was parked (not sure around what town) and he was able to get inside the locomotive without a problem. There was no crew around the train and the door wasn't locked. What gives?

BTW we were wondering how the train operator managed to get to the hotel in Lac Megantic: the answer is by taxi. This operator always gets the same taxi driver when he parks his train at that spot.
edit on 13/7/9 by Xzia99 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 12:05 AM
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reply to post by Xzia99
 


Nope, no locks on train doors. There are usually brackets welded on the door to accept padlocks when the engines are in storage but not when in use. There are locks that can be applied on the inside of the door to protect the crew, but none on the outside.

I believe in some high-crime areas crew are issued locks to put on unattended trains, but that is not the norm. If you are worried about someone climbing on and taking a train for a ride, it's not easy to get a 'properly' secured train to move. And if you were able to get the train moving, odds are it wouldn't stay moving for very long due to any number of reasons. It's not like driving a car.



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 01:07 AM
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Originally posted by Montana
reply to post by Xzia99
 


I believe in some high-crime areas crew are issued locks to put on unattended trains, but that is not the norm. If you are worried about someone climbing on and taking a train for a ride, it's not easy to get a 'properly' secured train to move.


In a lot of high crimes areas and areas that are know to have violent crimes. They do issue locks to crews in these areas to keep people from boarding the trains when no one is around. Although, in the past train crews have been stabbed, shot, or shot at while on board a train. Some railroads on the other hand do have locomotives that came equipped with brackets for the use of padlocks. Norfolk Southern is a great example of padlocks being put on the doors of locomotives. They have even went back and retrofitted locomotives that came over from the 1982 merger of the Southern Railway and the Norfolk & Western Railway.

As for starting and operating a train, its very hard to do if you don't have the proper training. Driving a car is a whole lot different and completely different from driving a train. Training on the proper use of the throttle and the brakes is one of the biggest factors into the proper operation of a train and or locomotive. I mean you just can't climb into one, operate the throttle, release the brakes, and expect to go somewhere. There are a lot of things that a person must be trained on before operating a locomotive.



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 05:57 AM
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So... i'm from Quebec...

So sad... Media talk about it all the times... 13 body found 50 less or more people still not found...

The Train compagny ( MMA ) had only 1 person per trains. And they won the contract for oil because they were less expensive... ( that's why they want 1 person per train.... )

The boss compagny ( from america ) did joke about this... :" I will not come there, i dont want to get shoot i would need bulletproof vest"

....................................................... SO PATHETIC

The envirronemental problem are high too... a BIG tragedy....



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