Canadian Pacific grain train derailment kills three crew members (04/02)

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by Adlington, 5 Feb 2019.

  1. Adlington

    Adlington Member

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    The source (Railway Age) has a map showing Spiral Tunnels at Kicking Horse Pass. An amazing piece of engineering, shame I've learned about it only on this very sad occasion...
     
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  3. trainmania100

    trainmania100 Established Member

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    Sad to hear
     
  4. gazthomas

    gazthomas Established Member

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    I've been through there and it's awesome, but my thoughts are with the families and friends of the people who have passed away
     
  5. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    How tragic.
    I've watched those massive trains climb and descend Kicking Horse Pass, a spectacular sight (and site).
    Recovery will be no easy task, even if the cargo was not toxic.
    3000 tonnes of grain won't be easy to get out of the river, which will be frozen up at this time of year.
    It's not that long since the disastrous runaway (not CP) at Lac-Megantic in Quebec.

    There's a slightly more detailed account in this CBC item:
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calg...ment-field-bc-calgary-investigation-1.5006374
     
    Last edited: 5 Feb 2019
  6. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Both the media links quoted above have been updated and it seems the train derailed higher up the mountain than previously indicated, between the two spiral tunnels.
    It also apparently derailed in 3 separate locations and all but the rearmost cars and loco left the track.
     
  7. Adlington

    Adlington Member

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    From the Canada’s Transportation Safety Board preliminary report on Tuesday, Feb. 5:
     
  8. 43096

    43096 Established Member

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    I assume that the photo shown in the various reports of the UP ES44AC loco is the mid-train helper and that the lead loco is elsewhere amongst the wreckage?
     
  9. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    As the CBC news report says "It barrelled along for just over three kilometres before 99 cars and two locomotives derailed at a curve ahead of a bridge, the TSB said. Only 13 cars and the tail-end locomotive remained on the tracks." that suggests the mid-train DPU helper didn't derail, so the UP loco is one of the lead units. (DPU = radio controlled loco).

    When I was in Western Canada about 18 months ago, I saw at least two grain trains with UP ES44AC's leading on the CP mainline - CP seem to use the UP 'run-through' locos interchangeably with their own. Standard loco setup on the westbound (loaded) grain trains seemed to be 2 front plus 1 mid-train DPU helper (about 2/3 back in the train). There are a couple of them in my videos from the trip - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBg-DysQK2NyRmsDSn_iahA/videos (in the Kamloops and Notch Hill videos)

    Agreed (both comments) - Kicking Horse Pass is something else...

    From the TSB comments, this looks like another tragic 'poor train handling' accident (train brakes left in 'emergency' for two hours on a gradient - no handbrakes applied???)
     
    Last edited: 7 Feb 2019
  10. 43096

    43096 Established Member

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    From what has been written elsewhere, the train was formed with one loco up front (CP AC4400CW 9538), a mid-train helper DPU (UP ES44AC 5359) and another DPU on the rear (a leased CEFX AC4400CW).
     
  11. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    Thanks for the info - interesting - maybe they've had a re-think about the DPU distribution in some of the trains. The only single-leading-loco trains I saw were using a 1 + 1 setup on eastbound empties. There were a few blue CEFX 'leasers' around when I was there too - and a CSX ES44AC...
     
  12. Shaw S Hunter

    Shaw S Hunter Established Member

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    Although the circumstances are different this tragic accident has echoes of the recent derailment of a BHP iron ore train in Western Australia's Pilbara region. That too was a runaway when automatic brakes appear to have failed. I should think that all operators of serious heavy haul freight trains will be keeping a close eye on the investigations into both of these incidents.
     
  13. Groningen

    Groningen Established Member

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    I hope that there is a detour possibility or that the mess can be quickly removed.
     
  14. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    One way is to go north via Edmonton and CN via Jasper and the Yellowhead route to Kamloops, where there is a connection back to CP.
    Another is the southern Crowsnest route (CP) via Lethbridge, which rejoins the original line at Golden.
    Both are long and mostly single track, so there's going to be some congestion.
    From the Chicago area they could also use BNSF (GN) to Seattle and Vancouver via the US if necessary.
     
  15. big all

    big all Member

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    i can remember as a driver around the late 80s to early 90s i thought the choice to for single pipe over double pipe where recharging the brake reservour that would happen via the train brake pipe rather than via the main res pipe was daft as a two pipe system meant the brake was replenished regardless off brake use
    so if the aux tank on the vehicle was being run down and not charged by the main res pipe further applications would diminish the brake power to that vehicle with each sucsessive application without enough time to charge the aux tank in between
    now as it happened it was never a problem as it was with "normal trains " off around 600-1000 tonnes so engine brakes whilst charging train brakes was enough to hold
    now i dont know if the trains involved where single piped with through main res or main res to brake tanks but with a main res charged tank on vehicle you have a full brake application automatically rather than a perhaps 10-15% reduction per application because off reduced capacity and any leakage meaning a failure off brakes on that vehicle eventually as no recharging via the main res pipe
     
    Last edited: 8 Feb 2019
  16. Groningen

    Groningen Established Member

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    Does that VIA train pass the accident spot?
     
  17. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    No - the VIA 'Canadian' uses the more northerly (and longer/less steeply graded) CN route via Jasper. The only scheduled passenger trains on the CP route are the 'Rocky Mountaineer' tour trains between Banff and Vancouver.
     
  18. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    AFAIK, freight is all single-pipe air braking in US and Canada - and I don't think they have 'graduated release' brake valves on freight cars either, so releases are always 'full release', unless 'slow direct release' valves or 'retainers' are in use on the cars. These slow down the rate of brake release/retain some braking, allowing the vehicle air reservoirs to be recharged from the train pipe while still keeping some braking during long downhill descents. But I think modern high-capacity dynamic braking on locos has largely made the use of retainers etc. obsolete in normal circumstances.
     
  19. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    I see the line was reopened for traffic after only 2.5 days - incredible.
    The derailed stock and its grain cargo would still be there, some of it in view from the main road (Highway 1, the Trans Canada) on Kicking Horse Pass.
    I also see CP (and CN) are in dispute with Transport Canada on new rules for handling braking on mountain lines.
    They think it increases risks rather than decreases them.
    https://www.cpr.ca/en/media/cp-to-appeal-transport-canada-ministerial-order
     
  20. Adlington

    Adlington Member

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    What are the new rules? Why do they increase risks?
     
  21. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    It's here - https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/ministerial-order-19-03.html

     
  22. Adlington

    Adlington Member

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    Thank you.
    That document says
    Why should this rule increase risks, according to CN and CP??
     
  23. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    I suspect it's the length of time it would take for one person (the conductor) to walk along the train on the ballast setting as many as handbrakes as the rule suggests (in the sub-zero cold/dark/rain/snow/high winds etc. - remember this is the Canadian Rockies in winter...). Then once the single-pipe train air brake has been fully released for long enough to allow the reservoirs on each wagon to fully re-charge, the same person has got to do it all again to release the handbrakes, while the train is held for sometime on a partial air brake application to stop it rolling away on a 2.2% gradient...
     
  24. Adlington

    Adlington Member

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    Well, if this is to prevent another accident, the time and discomfort is of secondary importance.

    Why held on partial air brake? Why not wait till the pressure is restored to the full operating condition?
     
  25. big all

    big all Member

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    i assume they mean the loco air brakes [strait air brakes]that i am also assuming can be applied electrically to all locos in the train but just a guess
     
  26. Groningen

    Groningen Established Member

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    In a dutch newspaper it was noted that the wrong kind of brakes were on the freighttrain.
     
  27. westcoaster

    westcoaster Established Member

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    Only just read this thread. Are we saying that the train was put into emergency whilst stopped, but during this stop the brakes released due to low main air pressure. Causing the runaway and sad loss of life.

    If so were the engines shut down thus rendering the compressors inoperable, to supply the air to hold the brakes on.
     
  28. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    These are the facts about the accident publicly released by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada to date - http://www.bst-tsb.gc.ca/eng/enquetes-investigations/rail/2019/r19c0015/r19c0015.asp

    If the train air-brake is put into 'emergency', it means the train brake pipe pressure is lowered to atmospheric pressure (the air is 'dumped' in North American rail jargon). After that you still have air pressure in the reservoirs on each vehicle which is being used to apply the brakes on each vehicle, but over time that air will leak away due to the flexible seals in the system - this leakage gets worse at very low temperatures as the seals harden. So after a while (two hours in this case) there is insufficient vehicle reservoir air pressure to hold the brakes on...and the train rolls away down the hill...

    A normal 'service' brake application only lowers the train brake pipe pressure by a fraction of the full (released) brake pipe pressure - from memory, full pressure is about 120 psi, and a 'full service' brake application lowers it by about 20 psi. The vehicle brake control valves sense this pressure drop relative to their local reservoir pressure and pressurise the brake cylinders to a proportional amount to apply the brakes - I think it's about 3 to 4 times the pressure difference. Modern loco master brake valves have automatic 'pressure maintaining' so in this example situation they will hold the brake pipe pressure at 100 psi by pumping more air into the brake pipe as required to compensate for leakage (provided the loco air compressor is working) - so the train can be held on the brakes forever in this situation, if the loco is running. (It was the loco shutting down combined with insufficient handbrakes being set to hold the train on the gradient that caused the Lac Megantic oil-train disaster back in 2013).

    The train locos have high-capacity dynamic braking, but on the 2.2% gradient down the west side of the pass that probably wouldn't be enough to fully brake the train.
     
  29. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    See http://www.railway-technical.com/trains/rolling-stock-index-l/train-equipment/brakes/ for a general description of how single-pipe air brake systems work.

    Basically, if a train has gone into emergency (braking) on a gradient, if the loco brakes aren't enough to hold it (after a release to recharge the system) the only other thing you can do is set enough handbrakes to hold it. Because that can take a long time - the handbrake wheels are on the ends of the cars, so it means climbing up the end of each one and winding a wheel, so it maybe it would take up to a few minutes per car - I think the crew would have to decide to do that ASAP after the emergency application. The investigation report says "There were no hand brakes applied on the train" (after 2 hours had elapsed)...
     
  30. bahnause

    bahnause Member

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    I remember having to secure a train in a 2.7% gradient. The swiss rulebook allows using the air brake to secure a train for only 30 minutes, so you better start applying the handbrakes soon. It is quite a lot of handbrake you need to apply, especially if the cars are equipped with disc brakes.
     
  31. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    This is a 'handbrake wheel' end view of a typical covered hopper car (from Mitsui Rail Capital, https://www.mrc-rail.com/project/medium-covered-hopper/ )

    Medium-Hopper_a.jpg

    A train with 112 of those, fully loaded, would weigh nearly 15,000 tonnes including the locos and be about 1.3 miles long.
     
    Last edited: 15 Mar 2019 at 14:09

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