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HomepageThe Car Guide is the benchmark of excellence for the Canadian automotive landscape. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive by email weekly reports on the contents published on The Car Guide. This summary of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada's (TSB) Railway Investigation Report R13D0054 contains a description of the accident, along with an overview of the analysis and findings, the safety action taken to date, five key recommendations, and what more needs to be done to help ensure an accident like this does not happen again. In keeping with the railway's practice, after arriving in Nantes, the locomotive engineer (engineer) parked the train on a descending grade on the main track. The engineer applied hand brakes on all five locomotives and two other cars, and shut down all but the lead locomotive. The engineer then contacted the rail traffic controller in Farnham, Quebec, to advise that the train was secure. Shortly after the engineer left, the Nantes Fire Department responded to a 911 call reporting a fire on the train. Once the fire was extinguished, the firefighters and the track foreman discussed the train's condition with the rail traffic controller in Farnham, and departed soon afterward. The pileup of tank cars, combined with the large volume of burning petroleum crude oil, made the firefighters' job extremely difficult. This investigation looked at many issues to find out what happened, why it happened, and what needs to be done to prevent it from happening again. In October 2012, eight months before this accident, the lead locomotive was sent to MMA's repair shop following an engine failure. The Canadian Rail Operating Rules required that unattended equipment be left with a "sufficient" number of hand brakes applied to prevent movement, and that the effectiveness of the hand brakes be tested. The TSB concluded that, without the extra force provided by the air brakes, a minimum of 17 and possibly as many as 26 hand brakes would have been needed to secure the train, depending on the amount of force with which they had been applied. Automatic air brakes are used to slow or stop the entire train, and are controlled by means of a brake pipe connected to each car and locomotive. Both independent brakes and automatic brakes are supplied with air from a compressor on each locomotive. When air leaks from the various components, the pressure in the brake cylinders gradually drops, and the amount of force being applied to the locomotive wheels by the independent brakes is reduced. When the air brake control valves sense a drop in pressure in the brake pipe, they are designed to activate the brakes on each car. In addition to air brake systems, all locomotives and rail cars are equipped with at least one hand brake.
The effectiveness of hand brakes depends on several factors, including their age, their maintained condition, their application in conjunction with air brakes, and the force exerted by the person applying the hand brake, which can vary widely.
Almost every car that derailed was breached, some in multiple areas, including shells, heads, top and bottom fittings, and pressure relief devices.
An organization with a strong safety culture is generally proactive when it comes to addressing safety issues. When the investigation looked carefully at MMA's operations, it found that employee training, testing, and supervision were not sufficient, particularly when it came to the operation of hand brakes and the securement of trains. For several years, Transport Canada's regional office in Quebec had identified MMA as a company with an elevated level of risk that required more frequent inspections. In addition, although MMA had developed a safety management system in 2002, Transport Canada's regional office in Quebec did not audit it until 2010a€”even though this is Transport Canada's responsibility, and despite clear indications (via inspections) that the company's safety management system was not effective. The TSB looked very carefully at single-person train operations, and at whether having just one crew member played a role in the accident.
The petroleum crude oil in the tank cars was more volatile than described on the shipping documents.
MMA, meanwhile, eliminated single-person train operations, stopped moving unit trains of petroleum crude oil, and increased operating-rules testing and enforcement. For its part, Transport Canada introduced numerous initiatives, including an emergency directive prohibiting trains transporting dangerous goods from operating with single-person crews.

In January 2014, the TSB made three recommendations aimed at addressing systemic safety issues that posed a significant risk. Transport Canada must take a more hands-on role when it comes to railways' safety management systemsa€”making sure not just that they exist, but that they are working and that they are effective. Emergency response assistance plans must be created when large volumes of liquid hydrocarbons, like oil, are shipped. Railway companies should conduct strategic route-planning and enhance train operations for all trains carrying dangerous goods. Railways must make progress on the development and implementation of new rules to improve their operating practices for the safe transportation of dangerous goods. Investigations conducted by the TSB are complexa€”an accident is never caused by just one factor. Use these free images for your websites, art projects, reports, and Powerpoint presentations! Don’t wrap that Keurig coffee brewing machine just yet, as Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. The company said the coffeemakers, a single-serve brewing machine used to prepare hot beverages such as coffee, tea, and cocoa, could malfunction, especially if used to brew more than two cups back-to-back. Railway rules require hand brakes alone be capable of holding a train, and this must be verified by a test. After shutting off the locomotive's fuel supply, the firefighters moved the electrical breakers inside the cab to the off position, in keeping with railway instructions. With all the locomotives shut down, the air compressor no longer supplied air to the air brake system. Despite the challenges of a large emergency, the response was well coordinated, and the fire departments effectively protected the site and ensured public safety after the derailment. Given the significant time and cost of a standard repair, and the pressure to return the locomotive to service, the engine was repaired with an epoxy-like material that lacked the required strength and durability. That night, the engineer carried out the hand brake effectiveness test with the locomotive air brakes still applied. Decreases in pressure within this pipe cause air to flow into each car's control valve, which injects stored air into the brake cylinder, applying the brake shoes to the wheels.
They are activated by the direct injection of air into their brake cylinders, which then apply the brake shoes to the wheels. Eventually, if the system is not recharged with air, the brakes will become ineffective and provide no braking force.
In this accident, however, the rate of leakage was slow and steadya€”approximately 1 pound per square inch per minutea€”and so the automatic brakes did not apply.
This is a mechanical device that applies brake shoes to the wheels to prevent them from moving. Although they met requirements in effect at the time, they were built to an older standard, and they lacked enhancements such as a jacket, a full head shield, and thermal protection.
The exact location and extent of the damage varied depending on the orientation and speed of the cars during the derailment. Although MMA had some safety processes in place and had developed a safety management system in 2002, the company did not begin to implement this safety management system until 2010a€”and by 2013, it was still not functioning effectively. Although MMA normally took corrective action once problems were identified, it was not uncommon for the same problems to reappear during subsequent inspections. Transport Canada Headquarters in Ottawa, meanwhile, did not effectively monitor the Region's activities. After looking at the circumstances that night, the investigation was not able to conclude that having another crew member would have prevented the accident. If railways in Canada intend to implement single-person train operations, then they need to examine all the risks and make sure measures are in place to mitigate those risks.
If petroleum crude oil is not tested systematically and frequently, there is a risk of it being improperly classified.

Sections of the Canadian Rail Operating Rules were also rewritten, and new tank car standards have been proposed. The National Transportation Safety Board issued recommendations aimed at route planning for hazardous materials trains, petroleum products response plans for worst-case spills, and the classification of hazardous materials. Three months later, it followed up to assess the action that had been taken by government and industry. This report identifies 18 distinct causes and contributing factors, many of them influencing one another. Although these did not lead directly to the accident, they are related to unsafe acts, unsafe conditions, or safety issues with the potential to degrade rail safety. Many factors played a role, and addressing the safety issues will take a concerted effort from regulators, railways, shippers, tank car manufacturers, and refiners in Canada and the United States.
Keurig says it had received about 200 reports of hot liquid escaping from the brewer, including 90 reports of burn-related injuries, according to the U.S. That night, however, the locomotive air brakes were left on during the test, meaning the train was being held by a combination of hand brakes and air brakes. During this conversation, the engineer indicated that the lead locomotive had experienced mechanical difficulties throughout the trip, and that excessive black and white smoke was coming from its smoke stack. They then met with an MMA employee, a track foreman who had been dispatched to the scene but who did not have a locomotive operations background.
As air leaked from the brake system, the main air reservoirs were slowly depleted, gradually reducing the effectiveness of the locomotive air brakes. The fire began almost immediately, and the ensuing blaze and explosions left 47 people dead. This material failed in service, leading to engine surges and excessive black and white smoke. These rules also required that a train's air brake system not be depended upon to prevent an undesired movement. As a result, the test did not identify that an insufficient amount of hand brake force had been applied to secure the train. There were also significant gaps between the company's operating instructions and how work was done day to day. As a result, it was not aware of any weaknesses in oversight of regional railways in Quebec, and it did not intervene. Transport Canada, for its part, should consider a process to approve and monitor the railways' plans so as to assure safety.
The movement of these improperly classified goods increases the risk to people, property, and the environment. Although this investigation is complete, the TSB will continue to monitor the five recommendations, and to report publicly on any progressa€”or lack of progressa€”until all of the safety deficiencies have been corrected. Because they expected the smoke to settle, it was agreed to leave the train as it was and deal with the situation the next morning. Another 2000 people were forced from their homes, and much of the downtown core was destroyed. Eventually, oil began to accumulate in the body of the turbocharger, where it overheated and caught fire on the night of the accident. This and other signs in MMA's operations were indicative of a weak safety culturea€”one that contributed to the continuation of unsafe conditions and unsafe practices, and significantly compromised the company's ability to manage risk. Transport Canada's regional office in Quebec, however, did not always follow up to ensure that these recurring problems were effectively analyzed and that the underlying conditions were fixed. Department of Transportation also issued an emergency order strengthening train securement rules, and a notice of proposed rulemaking targeting, among other items, improved tank car standards.

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