[SystemSafety] Final Report on the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway accident at Lac-Mégantic

From: Martyn Thomas < >
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:14:57 +0100

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The Canadian Transportation Safety Board's Final Report on the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway accident at Lac-Mégantic, Quebec has been issued. It may be found at:

For context, from the Report:

"On 5 July 2013, at about 10:50 p.m., after arriving in Nantes, Quebec,
a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) locomotive engineer parked a train on a descending grade on the main track. The engineer applied hand brakes on all five locomotives, plus two other cars, and shut down all but the lead locomotive. Railway rules require hand brakes alone be capable of holding a train, and this must be verified by a test. That night, 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, and giving a false impression that the hand brakes alone would hold the train.

"When a fire began in the engine of the lead locomotive, in keeping with
railway instructions, emergency responders shut off the engine, which subsequently caused the air holding the locomotive air brakes to leak off. Without enough force from the handbrakes, the train began rolling downhill toward Lac-Mégantic, just over seven miles away. As it moved down the grade, the train picked up speed, reaching a top speed of 65 mph. It derailed near the centre of town at about 1:15 a.m.

"Almost all of the derailed tank cars were damaged, and many had large
breaches. About six million litres of petroleum crude oil was quickly released. The fire began almost immediately, and the ensuing blaze and explosions left 47 people dead. Another 2000 people were forced from their homes, and much of the downtown core was destroyed."

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systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Received on Fri Aug 22 2014 - 16:15:12 CEST

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