|From TSB animation of MM&A derailment|
It is a detailed analysis of the oil train derailment, which, as you recall, took 47 lives. More than 100 other souls were hospitalized, with 20 or so requiring extended hospital care. In addition, 40 structures, including a library containing priceless First Nations artifacts, and 53 motor vehicles were destroyed.
Recently, all of former Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MM&A) motive power, now Central Maine & Quebec, were sold at auction. If you haven't had the opportunity, read the description presented by the auctioneer, of the fundamentally pitiable gaggle of locomotives. This is reflected in the Final Report.
¶ 1.13.1 Analysis of the Locomotive Event Recorder.
¶ 1.15 speaks to the mechanical condition of MM&A 5017, lead engine of the runaway consist. Reads like a Gothic horror story. This unit was withdrawn from the recent auction, by order of the Sûreté du Québec, as being associated with a crime scene.
¶ 1.18 speaks to the infamous DOT-111 tank cars. While Canada has taken positive measures to get that junk off the tracks or complete extensive retro-fits, here in the USA we "strongly advise" to get rid of the cars, with retro-fitting staggering along.
¶ 1.23 speaks to the culture of Single Person Train Operation (SPTO.) Under Edward Burkhardt, former owner of MM&A, SPTO was argued to be superior to a two-man cab, ostensibly to reduce inattention due to "conversations," and other ridiculous reasoning. Call it like it is. Wage reduction.
¶ 2.13.8 speaks to a weak organizational safety structure. I am of the opinion that will the history of train wrecks, train crews running unit oil trains, especially those carrying the caustic "Bakken Crude," need to be trained on their responsibility to operate trains in a safe manner, and management must commit to operating a safe plant, including detailed track inspection with a recognized service such as Sperry.
¶ 3.0 speaks to the findings as to the causes and contributing factors, resulting in death and destruction.
Another document brought to my attention was an article in the International Railway Journal, written by David Thomas. Mr. Thomas makes an interesting argument, beyond Edward Burkhardt's penny-pinching, there is plenty of blame to be spread around for Lac-Mégantic
With a Unit Oil Train coming to your neighborhood, rail operators have a fiduciary responsibility to commit resources, training and accountability, to insure safe transit of hazardous materials through your neighborhood.