Learning from Canadaâ€™s Train Disaster
July 17, 2013 | Earlier this month, a Montreal, Main, and Atlantic Railway train with 72 tank cars carrying crude oil derailed in eastern Quebec – causing devastation, death, and destruction to the town of Lac-MÃ©gnatic.
According to reports, the train’s breaks disengaged after a mandatory rest stop. Upon the break disengagement, the train continued on the track for over an hour before hitting the tourist town.
The Canadian Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident. Other transportation officials are re-evaluating their trains and safety protocols. U.S. Federal Railroad Administration is scheduled to inspect the rail tracks in the state of Maine beginning next week. However, the FRA does not have jurisdiction outside the United States.
As large volumes of crude oil are transported internationally, it is especially important to reevaluate the safety of the tanks carrying the fuel.
Terminal and facility operators are reviewing their procedures to insure the hand offs to railroads are completed safely. This is one of the services TCA provides to help implement better practices.
Reports indicate the transportation officials have warned about the DOT-111 cars (the type of involved in the Quebec derailment) indicating that they are prone to punctures or leaks in accidents. These cars make up 69 percent of the tanker fleet in the United States and one of the main modes of transporting ethanol, diesel, and crude oil.