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Old Jul 23rd, 2013, 07:02 PM   #71
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Ahh! The joy of having free and unfettered Capatilists.

Does anyones else notice a similarity of MM&A chairman Ed Burkhardt and Mr. Burn of Simpsons fame?


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Old Jul 23rd, 2013, 07:27 PM   #72
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Wasn't that expected after the TSB essentially said that current rule and regulations were not adequate?

When I read the two urgent concerns TSB sent to Transport Canada I thought - Holy cow, this essentially means that MM&A might be off the hook.
Seems everything was done by the book - or at least not contrary to current rules.

- Operating with a single engineer was approved
- Parking the train on the main line ios apparently not against regulations (had the train parked on the siding, this disaster would not have happened)
- Number of handbrakes to be applied is open to interpretation and also doesn't seem to take into account the weight of the train and the incline it is parked on
-

I can just see the MM&A lawyers saying: All the rules were followed, the railroad is not to blame.

On top of that the one idling loco that maintained air pressure to keep the air brakes applied was turned off and was never turned on again.
That loco idling and maintaining air pressure would have prevented the disaster as well but neither the firefighters nor the MM&A employee on site that evening had sufficient knowledge to understand that. Had they woken the engineer after the loco fire was extinguished, the disaster wouldn't have happened either.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2013, 07:35 PM   #73
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The Feds should have got a damage deposit from these ass-holes.
The Feds should pull their operating permit until after an investigation and clean-up has been completed.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2013, 07:53 PM   #74
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From the timelines that I have seen, and the public statements to date of all involved, I'm surprised more people aren't looking very hard at the "other MM&A employee" - the one who was left in charge of the train after the firefighters departed.
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Old Jul 24th, 2013, 01:05 AM   #75
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From the timelines that I have seen, and the public statements to date of all involved, I'm surprised more people aren't looking very hard at the "other MM&A employee" - the one who was left in charge of the train after the firefighters departed.
That employee was some track track inspector or somebody along those lines - can't remember exactly what job he was trained for.
But he had no knowledge about locomotives or anything train related.

Hindsight is always 20/20 but one wonders why none of the fire fighters or even that employee had enough sense to wonder why the locomotive was idling and "shouldn't we turn it back on after the fire was extinguished?"
The loco was obviously not left idling just for the fun of it.

I have no doubt (as opposed to the MM&A chairman) that Tom Harding (?), the locomotivde engineer, applied 11 hand brakes as he claimed, but.......were 11 hand brakes enough to hold that train on the slope without the air brakes?
Obviously not.
But it could also be that the hand brakes were not in good shape.
Those are mechanical brakes like the parking brake on a car - and that doesn't hold the car on a slope either if it's not in good shape.

It will be more than a year before the final report about that accident is issued and I can see right now that there were a number of obvious contributing factors that caused this accident to happen.
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Old Jul 24th, 2013, 09:23 AM   #76
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...
Hindsight is always 20/20 but one wonders why none of the fire fighters or even that employee had enough sense to wonder why the locomotive was idling and "shouldn't we turn it back on after the fire was extinguished?"
The loco was obviously not left idling just for the fun of it.

...
Seems to me that shutting down the locomotive would have been done as part of extinguishing the fire. Since fuel lines may have been damaged one could hardly have expected the firefighters to restart the locomotive.

That leaves the question; Why was the engineer not located, dragged kicking and screaming all the way, to inspect the locomotive?

The reason for setting handbrakes is CYA in the event the airbrakes fail. Because the train was on the mainline and no engineer aboard, those hand brakes were the only back-up. From my reading for that size train, with hazardous materials, parked on a grade, the number of cars with hand brakes set should have been about 30. Just walking that distance in both directions would take about 20 minutes plus the time required to set 35 hand brakes. (The brakes on the engines are also set).
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Old Jul 24th, 2013, 09:47 AM   #77
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Seems to me that shutting down the locomotive would have been done as part of extinguishing the fire. Since fuel lines may have been damaged one could hardly have expected the firefighters to restart the locomotive.

That leaves the question; Why was the engineer not located, dragged kicking and screaming all the way, to inspect the locomotive?

The reason for setting handbrakes is CYA in the event the airbrakes fail. Because the train was on the mainline and no engineer aboard, those hand brakes were the only back-up. From my reading for that size train, with hazardous materials, parked on a grade, the number of cars with hand brakes set should have been about 30. Just walking that distance in both directions would take about 20 minutes plus the time required to set 35 hand brakes. (The brakes on the engines are also set).
There are federally mandated mandatory rest rules in place. The rest rules arose as a result of another rail disaster at Hinton Ab. If the engineer worked to the allowable hours of service or the maximum hours of service he can not be called to service for any reason until the end of the rest period.

The other MMA employee, a track foreman I believe, should have called a Rail traffic control office, where train dispatchers who are responsible for all trains on tracks on their territory. The call should be made either by radio or cell phone. The "other employee" should have reported the situation on the train as a result of the fire.

The other employee should have been advised with regard with what to do. Restart engines, apply brakes whatever was required. The other employee either didn't call or he did or did not follow any instructions given.

Third thing the engineer could have applied every brake on the train and if brakes are worn out or more likely out of adjustment the train could still roll away. According to the rules, as written, if applied every brake on the train and the train rolled away, it would be the employees fault.
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Old Jul 24th, 2013, 10:06 AM   #78
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Seems to me that shutting down the locomotive would have been done as part of extinguishing the fire. Since fuel lines may have been damaged one could hardly have expected the firefighters to restart the locomotive.
Agree.
My comment wasn't as clear as it should have been.
I'm not suggesting they should have turned that particular engine back on, just that nobody gave any thought why the engine was running in the first place.

Quote:
That leaves the question; Why was the engineer not located, dragged kicking and screaming all the way, to inspect the locomotive?
I don't think the engineer needed to be "dragged, kicking and screaming". From what I have read he was very conscientious, a phone call would have been enough.

Quote:
The reason for setting handbrakes is CYA in the event the airbrakes fail. Because the train was on the mainline and no engineer aboard, those hand brakes were the only back-up. From my reading for that size train, with hazardous materials, parked on a grade, the number of cars with hand brakes set should have been about 30. Just walking that distance in both directions would take about 20 minutes plus the time required to set 35 hand brakes. (The brakes on the engines are also set).
Where did you see the suggestion that 30 or 35 handbrakes should have been set?
All I have read so far is that the engineer said he set 11 handbrakes (plus the 5 handbrakes on the locos) and then the TSB sent this urgent message to Transport Canada that the requirement as to the number of handbrakes to be set was not clear and needs to urgently be clarified.
The engineer stated right at the beginning of the investigation that he set 11 handbrakes on the first 11 cars - nobody so far has stated that this was not adequate according to the current regulations. I would also assume that the number "11" didn't just pop into the engineer's head, he got that from some regulation.
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Old Jul 24th, 2013, 10:17 AM   #79
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Third thing the engineer could have applied every brake on the train and if brakes are worn out or more likely out of adjustment the train could still roll away. According to the rules, as written, if applied every brake on the train and the train rolled away, it would be the employees fault.
The other interesting thing is that the engineer applied the push-pull test (at least he said he did)....and then TSB comes out and states that the push-pull test is not always adequate.

From what I have read so far, the engineer seems to have done everything "right" - at least followed all the regulations.
The regulations seem to be lacking in a number of areas.

And worn and/or misadjusted handbrakes could well be a major contributing factor - this was the first thing that crossed my mind when I read the original articles about this disaster.
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Old Jul 24th, 2013, 10:52 AM   #80
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The other interesting thing is that the engineer applied the push-pull test (at least he said he did)....and then TSB comes out and states that the push-pull test is not always adequate.

From what I have read so far, the engineer seems to have done everything "right" - at least followed all the regulations.
The regulations seem to be lacking in a number of areas.

And worn and/or misadjusted handbrakes could well be a major contributing factor - this was the first thing that crossed my mind when I read the original articles about this disaster.
Seems to me that Mr. Ed Burkhardt, MMA's Head Honchos, is looking for a scapegoat or at least a shinny ball to draw the public's attention away from him.

I checked the Transport Canada, Work/Rest for Operating Employees Rules which I shall link here. Work/Rest Rules for Railway Operating Employees - Transport Canada

As far as an emergency the definition portion of the rules (Section 4) I have quoted the reference here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Transport Canada
"Emergency" means a sudden or unforeseen situation where injury or harm has been sustained, or could reasonably be sustained to employee(s), passenger(s), the public or the environment such as those involving a casualty or unavoidable accident, an Act of God, severe storms, major earthquakes, washouts, derailments or where there has been a delay resulting from a cause not known to the railway company at the time employees leave the terminal and which could not have been foreseen.

Except as outlined above, normal operating problems that are inherent in railway operations that do not constitute an "Emergency", include but are not limited to:

a) crew shortages;
b) broken draw bars;
c) locomotive malfunctions;
d) equipment failure;
e) broken rails;
f) hot boxes;
g) switching;
h) doubling hills;
i) meeting trains
j) train length.
Now I realize this may open up discussion here with regard to interpretation, but let's be clear this is a "guide line" and the regulations attached to these rules further define this document. The "Regs" are not attached here.
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