What worries me here is that the train went into emergency because of a broken hose. However, that part doesn't worry me because that isn't uncommon to happen. What worries me is that the train went into emergency and derailed... It is no surprise that the CN 'mega-trains' have been running across the Maritimes for quite a few years, but if they can't put a train in emergency without derailing it, that is an issue. CN was very particular to tell the press that the train was 122 cars long, however, they did not tell anyone the tonnage and the length. As we all know, not all car lengths are the same, so if there were say autoracks on that train, some of the cars would be at least 89' long. While, I know they are running DPU as well, the geography and the speed of the rail line obviously can not handle a 122 car (unknown length in ft) DPU train going into emergency. Now, I'm almost willing to bet one of the intermodal trains would have stayed on the rails, unless there is some other fault with the rails up there (Which I don't believe so based on preliminary reports from both the press and CN).
Next, I think all oil should run as unit trains, not mixed into general freight. While it may sound crazy, handling a unit train of a consistent weight and length, is much different than running general merch freights will a whole mix of other things. An engineer told me once running an oil train was actually pretty smooth. If they ran a unit train with DPU, you keep the slack forces down and the train would run well. Even if you slapped on a 30MPH speed limit for unit oil trains, I think you'd have no issues. BNSF has been doing that from the get go (Not sure about the speed restriction but they also run on much flatter terrain) and they have only had one accident that happened when a seperate train derailed into their crude oil train. The only issue there was the DOT-111 tank puncturing pretty easily, but still that could have happened with LPG tanks. And think, BNSF runs more oil trains than anyone else and that was their only large accident to date.
Run oil as unit trains only
Run oil with speed restrictions based on geography and grade %
Run oil trains with DPU
Result: Greater control and safety of oil trains