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2013-07-08 Great White North
Canada train blast: Lac-Megantic death toll set to rise
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Posted by Procopius2k 2013-07-08 00:00|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [525 views ]  Top

#1 This one is a really bad situation. Possible criminal element to it. Possibility of people having been vaporized by the explosion and fires. Just terrible.
Posted by Canuckistan sniper 2013-07-08 00:26||   2013-07-08 00:26|| Front Page Top

#2 Appears to have been on fire before it ran away. I also think the circumstances are suspicious.
Posted by phil_b 2013-07-08 00:33||   2013-07-08 00:33|| Front Page Top

#3 Pipelines are the safest and most economical method of transporting large volumes of oil and natural gas over land. Not exactly a newly found, technological breakthrough. Counter-arguments to this belay some other motivation.
Posted by Besoeker 2013-07-08 03:35||   2013-07-08 03:35|| Front Page Top

#4 phil_b likely the brakes were locked down on some of the cars and overheating caused an oil fire ---- "hot box".
Posted by Shipman 2013-07-08 04:02||   2013-07-08 04:02|| Front Page Top

#5 Apparently parked on a grade. Implication is that this has been done many times without problem.
Some cars "uncoupled". So? Did the cars downhill from the uncoupling not have their brakes set? Only the cars uphill from the uncoupling?
How do cars "uncouple"? Implication is it just happened. Just happen often?
Did the train arrive pushing the cars so that the uncoupling didn't matter and wouldn't be noticed? Would have mattered if the train had been pulling them.
So what we have currently is a train of cars sitting on a grade as a zillion times before. Brakes set as before [if not, why not?], cars coupled so that, among other things, one car's defective brakes aren't going to set things loose.
Uncoupling just happens and, quelle surprise, all the cars downhill from the uncoupling are brakeless. Or the grade is so steep that even one or two cars with defective brakes mean the aggregate braking of the cars downhill from the uncoupling wasn't sufficient to hold the cars in place. Do you park trains on grades that steep?
The stop was supposedly to change crews. No mention of breaking the train to send various cars in various directions. No reason to mess with the couplings.

As to the pipeline thing, is it true that Warren Buffet is buying railroad rolling stock?
Posted by raubrey@sbcglobal.net  2013-07-08 07:30||   2013-07-08 07:30|| Front Page Top

#6  raubrey-
Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway owns BNSF outright - so he already has a lot of rolling stock. I ride BNSF every morning and often see long trains of crude oil tankers (not nearly as long as trains of coal cars though).
Posted by Spot 2013-07-08 07:52||   2013-07-08 07:52|| Front Page Top

#7 I thought Liu Zhijun owned BNSF.
Posted by Besoeker 2013-07-08 08:01||   2013-07-08 08:01|| Front Page Top

#8 Spot.
So Buffet wouldn't be in favor of a pipeline?
Him and his buddy zero.
Posted by Richard Aubrey  2013-07-08 08:29||   2013-07-08 08:29|| Front Page Top

#9 They don't call it crony capitalism for nothing. In fact, that's what this admin has been about - finding ways to get ca$h to cronies. That's the true Chicago way. It's certainly done a lot for Illinois:(
Posted by Spot 2013-07-08 09:00||   2013-07-08 09:00|| Front Page Top

#10 "When you see the centre of your town almost destroyed, you'll understand that we're asking ourselves how we are going to get through this event,"

Right, Cover Your Ass.
Posted by Redneck Jim 2013-07-08 11:27||   2013-07-08 11:27|| Front Page Top

#11 The initial report I saw said it was a 77 car train with 5 locomotives. The locomotives remained on the track, with the handbrakes properly applied. This, according to a company spokesman. Standard procedure is to secure a certain percentage of handbrakes in the consist, whether the track is flat or on a grade.

It is in fact not terribly difficult for someone with a basic of knowledge to release handbrakes and uncouple cars. It was either a perfect storm of errors or sabotage. I lean towards the latter.
Posted by Ebboluth Panda3080 2013-07-08 15:08||   2013-07-08 15:08|| Front Page Top

#12 After searching for several minutes, I was unable to find any other cases of unmanned unpowered trains running away and derailing.
Posted by phil_b 2013-07-08 17:43||   2013-07-08 17:43|| Front Page Top

#13 New information here. http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/lac-megantic-train-derailment-what-we-know-so-far-1.1357911

Knowing that at least one locomotive was running, and that the engineer had left a service application on, and that the locomotive had been turned off by a third party (the local FD) I can now conceive a plausible scenario that doesn't involve sabotage:

When the power got turned off, air stayed bottled in the brake pipe. As a result of an air leak in an individual car, that car's service reservoirs/brake cylinder reached lower pressure and the quick-release put a portion of the emergency reservoir air into the brake pipe, which cascaded through and put enough of the train into release. The resulting slack action caused a run-through of the knuckle at the head end, leaving the locomotives standing, while the cars rolled away.

I still have many questions.
Posted by Ebboluth Panda3080 2013-07-08 20:35||   2013-07-08 20:35|| Front Page Top

#14 Reports fm Canada seem to indicate the cars were set out ,less engines, and then rolled down the grade derailed and 5 exploded. The how does seem sketchy as the CEO of the railroad said this has never happened before in the 77 year history of the line. Pictures from the scene are very telling as to the power of the explosion.
Interesting side note, about a week before the same line ran across a bridge damaged by swollen river ( pilings partially washed away). Several cars derailed but stayed upright and were safely pulled from the bridge. Also an oil train. Safety / maintenance philosophy problem?
Posted by USN,ret 2013-07-08 20:43||   2013-07-08 20:43|| Front Page Top

#15 Said the handbrakes weren't sufficient to hold on the grade once the air brakes had failed.
So the SOP was to presume the air brakes would never fail and the grade was therefore acceptable.
Or to put all the handbrakes on and they weren't.
Used to deal with the chief of a small town vol fd. They had a line running through town and they did a lot of work regarding trains. But I suppose it was mostly hazmat an valvology. Still, a brake issue isn't that tough when the answer is to call the rr company.
"You did what? Call the engineer and have him undo it [whatever it is]"
Posted by Richard Aubrey  2013-07-08 20:57||   2013-07-08 20:57|| Front Page Top

#16 Eyewitness said train started to roll 5 minutes after FD left.
Posted by phil_b 2013-07-08 21:11||   2013-07-08 21:11|| Front Page Top

#17 I have read that the brakes on trains are twofold, First you have the airbrakes that actually work in reverse, you let off the air, and the brakes apply.

Then you have the other (NOT HAND) that apply when you apply the air, so in order to move a train, you either have to have air, or lack it completely.

Hard to move a train, on the other hand the last 50 or so cars are usually cut off, (NO AIR PRESSURE) this is because the trains leak, and sometimes there's not enough pressure to release them properly.(If the cars uncouple, the train STOPS)

Given all this, the train MUST have been only partially pressurized, question is, how many cars were cut off.
Posted by Redneck Jim 2013-07-08 21:19||   2013-07-08 21:19|| Front Page Top

23:57 Steven
23:54 Skidmark
22:41 JosephMendiola
22:29 JosephMendiola
22:23 JosephMendiola
22:16 JosephMendiola
22:00 49 Pan
21:53 rammer
21:38 gorb
21:37 gorb
21:36 gorb
21:22 Richard Aubrey
21:22 Redneck Jim
21:19 Eric Jablow
21:19 Redneck Jim
21:15 phil_b
21:11 phil_b
20:57 Richard Aubrey
20:43 USN,ret
20:42 Glenmore
20:36 newc
20:35 Ebboluth Panda3080
20:33  Barbara
20:18 gorb

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