• Oil train disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Québec 07-06-2013

  • Discussion of present-day CM&Q operations, as well as discussion of predecessors Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) and Bangor & Aroostook Railroad (BAR).
Discussion of present-day CM&Q operations, as well as discussion of predecessors Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) and Bangor & Aroostook Railroad (BAR).

Moderator: MEC407

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  by rovetherr
 
The link below has a short video of the fire resulting from the wreck, not a good scene!

http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2013/0 ... c-megantic
  by 25Hz
 
CBC coverage:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/ ... -fire.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Pretty horrific stuff. What the hell happened??
  by 25Hz
 
Looks like the derailment happened somewhere along where the tracks parallel Rue Graham based on all the info from those news links.
  by trainsinmaine
 
Possibly a derailment due to "soft" rail from all this awful heat? :(
  by MEC407
 
From the Bangor Daily News:
Bangor Daily News wrote:Several tanker cars of petroleum products exploded after a train derailed in the middle of a small town in the Canadian province of Quebec early on Saturday in a blast that destroyed many buildings and sent flames hundreds of feet into the air.

Police in Lac-Megantic, a lakeside town of about 6,000 people, said they have been unable to determine if there were any casualties. Fire officials said around 30 buildings in the town center were destroyed, some by the initial blast and others by the subsequent fire.
. . .
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said four pressurized tanker cars blew up after the train, which had 73 cars in all, came off the rails shortly after 1 a.m. Fire officials said they feared more of the tanker cars were at risk of exploding.
. . .
Several Maine fire departments were sent to help Canadian crews deal with the blaze.
. . .
Police said some cars had spilled their contents into the river that runs through the town.
Read more at: http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/06/n ... in-quebec/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by BostonUrbEx
 
I honestly haven't heard a word about this on the news in Boston (NECN, specifically). I wouldn't have known had it not been for FaceBook and Twitter. The scope of this is unbelievable. It looks like the town's downtown got blown away! :(
  by gpp111
 
Lac Megantic is a picturesque town. It is a shame the derailment and fire occurred here. The cost will be huge to the railroad and especially so if there are
a lot of injuries or worse associated with it. Personally, I am not completely surprised there was a derailment of one of the oil trains. These are very heavy trains
and the weight takes its toll on the rails. The freight found on this line before the Bakken oil arrived, paper, lumber, pulp, and autos weighs less. It may be that
this event dooms the railroad, either from a cost factor, or from a forced reroute of the oil to other lines due to safety concerns. I remember when Iron Road was able to substantially increase traffic on this line during the early years of their operation, the threat of derailments increased and at times individual trains had to be followed with high-railers to spot failures in the track. In fact, I was on a derailment of a westbound at Sherbrooke in the late 90's, caused by a wheel that had jumped the track six miles before.
  by MEC407
 
I'm hearing rumors that this was one of MMA's "one-man crew" trains. Does anyone know if that's true?

Also, is it known yet whether the cars that exploded were indeed carrying crude oil, or were they perhaps carrying some other type of fuel?
  by KSmitty
 
MEC407 wrote:I'm hearing rumors that this was one of MMA's "one-man crew" trains. Does anyone know if that's true?

Also, is it known yet whether the cars that exploded were indeed carrying crude oil, or were they perhaps carrying some other type of fuel?
A report I read said local FD was proceeding with caution as it was believed the car that blew was pressurized and that there may be more pressurized cars. This would make me think it was LP and not crude., but the huge cut of tanks, mixed with the reported oil on the river would imply it was infact crude. Maybe it was a mix?

There's a good chance it was a 1 man crew. Aren't most of their road jobs St Luc-Brownville 1 man crews? Reports read elsewhere suggest it had an RCO caboose tucked in on the headend.
  by neman2
 
mbhoward wrote:Sorry to say its bad enough to make the UK papers

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... lodes.html

Some horrible pictures of the explosion and resulting fire. My thoughts and prayers to the town and crew.
I think we have to wait until the report comes out on this one !
Have you read what this paper is saying?, running on autopilot?
" It is not yet known if anyone was killed or injured in the blast, according to the Hamilton Spectator. The Montreal Maine & Atlantic train did not have a driver and was being run on autopilot."
  by MEC407
 
KSmitty wrote:A report I read said local FD was proceeding with caution as it was believed the car that blew was pressurized and that there may be more pressurized cars. This would make me think it was LP and not crude., but the huge cut of tanks, mixed with the reported oil on the river would imply it was infact crude. Maybe it was a mix?

There's a good chance it was a 1 man crew. Aren't most of their road jobs St Luc-Brownville 1 man crews? Reports read elsewhere suggest it had an RCO caboose tucked in on the headend.
Agreed: the multiple reports of pressurized cars, along with the dramatic explosions, made me wonder if it was something other than crude... but it does seem completely possible that we're actually looking at multiple types of fuel being hauled in the same train.

I thought I read somewhere that MMA was using traditional two-man crews whenever they were hauling hazmat, but I can't remember where I saw that. If this was indeed a one-man crew, I'm 99% certain that we'll be hearing a lot more about that in the days and weeks to come...
  by Mike Doughney
 
Train was unmanned during a crew change and started rolling on its own, according to this, dated 30 minutes ago:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 41312.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Joe McGonigle, Chicago-based vice president at Montreal Maine & Atlantic, said the train had been stopped outside of town for a crew change, and that there was no crew on the train at the time that it somehow started to roll. The train's engineer had inspected the train at just before midnight and all was secure. However, sometime after that, the train started to move, eventually traveling 6.8 miles, and part of it derailed and several cars exploded, he said.

"The train was released, we don't know how," he said. All safety measures were in place, and the train was "secure," he said.
  by MEC407
 
From the Montréal Gazette:
Montréal Gazette wrote:Joseph R. McGonigle confirmed to The Gazette early Saturday afternoon that shortly before midnight, the train's conductor stopped in nearby Nantes, locked the brakes and checked to ensure that the rail cars carrying thousands of litres of crude oil were all securely attached.

He then checked into a nearby Lac Mégantic hotel for the night. Another conductor was reportedly expected to take over driving the train within a few hours.

"Sometime after (the first conductor left), the train got loose," said McGonigle, who is vice president of marketing for The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway. "It travelled under its own inertia to the centre of the town."

The locomotive portion of the 73-car train actually detached half a mile outside of the small town, he added, but the cars carrying the oil kept right on rolling. McGonigle said there are security mechanisms in place to prevent anyone from tampering with the train, and the proper checks were done by the conductor before he left the vehicle. No one except him or another employee of the company should have been able to set it in motion.

"That's what confuses us. How did this happen?" McGonigle said. "There are many fail-safe modes. How this happened is just beyond us."
Read more at: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Tra ... story.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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