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15 hours ago, Shaun said:

Could they not have routed the trains through London? Instead of cancelling the train all together?

How could they run them through London? The derailment was between London and Sarnia.

 

Dan

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Quote

Accident kills Canadian Pacific train conductor in Calgary: union

The Teamsters Canada union says a train conductor employed by Canadian Pacific Railway died earlier this week following a workplace accident in Calgary.

The union says the accident occurred on CP rail tracks that run adjacent to 9th Avenue in the city’s downtown.

The union says it will co-operate fully in an investigation by transportation authorities.

No further details of what happened have been released.

The Teamsters represent almost 125,000 transportation employees across Canada, including more than 12,000 workers in the rail industry.

https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/accident-kills-canadian-pacific-train-conductor-in-calgary-union/wcm/618e1537-149e-4bfa-b82d-5a1ffd0161ee

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14 hours ago, dbdb said:

The Transportation Safety Board investigation page for more details:

http://tsb.gc.ca/eng/enquetes-investigations/rail/2019/r19c0015/r19c0015.asp

Sounds like the air brakes failed after a couple hours sitting on a steep grade.   The findings should be interesting.

Maybe not failed, but it certainly sounds like the crew was not expecting the train to start moving when it did.

 

The crew was also based out of Field, which is only a couple of miles east of the derailment point, so they knew the area well. Indeed, it will be interesting to find out what the TSB finds.


Dan

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The TSB representative at the press conference yesterday said they were based out of Calgary but the engineer and conductor were experienced in the territory.  It surprised me the TSB has already made statements suggesting they've already ruled out the actions of the accident crew as a cause. They must have some pretty good evidence to the contrary especially when they're so careful to avoid the term "runaway".

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18 hours ago, Benton Harper said:

Do not the black boxes also transmit the telemetry?   Wondering exactly what they do record

Would make sense rather than having to dig thru wreckage.

CN does have equipment that streams some data back to head office, and allows for not just live remote viewing of that data but even on-the-fly modelling of potential improvements to operations. I don't believe that CP has all of these features, but I can't help but believe that there is some telemetry being sent back to the head office, especially on the new locos.

 

That said, I don't believe that the telemetry will broadcast back every single piece of information being monitored by the onboard systems of the locomotives, and thus it would still be required to get the "black boxes" just to ensure everything. There may also be dead zones - such as in deep valleys and tunnels - where the system may not be able to broadcast the telemetry. The area where the Big Hill and the Spiral Tunnels lie is chalk-full of just such geography.


Dan

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So is the main line through the Rockies still closed as a result? Do they have agreements to allow them to use the CN line until it's cleaned up?

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12 hours ago, Shaun said:

So is the main line through the Rockies still closed as a result? Do they have agreements to allow them to use the CN line until it's cleaned up?

CP had scheduled a couple of detour trains over CN, but CN is currently in the midst of its own meltdown out west and wasn't able to offer much more than the 2 slots.

 

The CP main was reopened yesterday, in any case.

 

Dan

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Quick question for smallspy or one of the other railroaders on here.  I was discussing the circumstances of the CP derailment with a friend the other day and he mentioned something that I didn't know that I think was confirmed in an article I read today on the CP derailment.  I ready that air dryers are used in the winter and it significantly slows air flow to pressurize the brake system.  My friend says a relative who is a CN conductor mentioned it can often take an extremely long time, as much as an hour get the system up to enough pressure to release the brakes in the winter.  Is that true? 

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15 hours ago, dbdb said:

Quick question for smallspy or one of the other railroaders on here.  I was discussing the circumstances of the CP derailment with a friend the other day and he mentioned something that I didn't know that I think was confirmed in an article I read today on the CP derailment.  I ready that air dryers are used in the winter and it significantly slows air flow to pressurize the brake system.  My friend says a relative who is a CN conductor mentioned it can often take an extremely long time, as much as an hour get the system up to enough pressure to release the brakes in the winter.  Is that true? 

Air dryers are used year 'round. Moisture in the air system has many more potential problems than just freezing in the winter.

 

That said.....yes, it can take multiple hours to charge up a long freight train from nothing in the winter time, and the longer the train, the longer it takes. In the cold, not only does everything contract - and at differing rates - but you also have seals that harden and don't seal as well, so that your nominal loss of airflow is exponentially increased. In extreme cold, I've heard of stories of trains sitting for 5 and 6 hours while they pumped up the air enough to allow them to set off the brakes.

 

And the issues don't even stop with starting the train moving. Bringing the train to a stop can also become problematic. That increased air loss? It allows the brake pipe pressure change to propagate faster down the brake line, meaning that the brakes on the tail end may come on quicker and harder than you were expecting them to. And then there's the issue of cold brake shoes, potentially covered in ice and snow - it may take more time for the brakes to set up and start to grab.

 

Even maintaining speed can be a problem. Snow build-up not only affects the brake shoes but the rest of the braking system as well, as it is generally exposed to the elements underneath the cars. Chunks of snow and ice will get loosened and fall, and can cause all sorts of hazards all their own, not the least of which is snagging and pulling apart gladhands. Remember that part above about how the brakes may not propagate properly above? Well, now the train is in emergency and doing all that.

 

This is why, generally, the freight railroads try to shorten trains when the temperatures drop. But this brings about its own set of problems with regards to the fluidity of the network. CN's current mess out west is directly tied to all of this.

 

Dan

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How about adding more mid train helpers? And using dynamic brake cars to allow the train to hold air? Yes it costs more but something needs to be done to prevent these incidents from happening again. 

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44 minutes ago, Shaun said:

How about adding more mid train helpers? And using dynamic brake cars to allow the train to hold air? Yes it costs more but something needs to be done to prevent these incidents from happening again. 

Something "sort of" has been done. New regulations require the use of hand brakes when stopping on a hill like this. It's not a perfect solution, but then nothing is.

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17 hours ago, Shaun said:

How about adding more mid train helpers? And using dynamic brake cars to allow the train to hold air? Yes it costs more but something needs to be done to prevent these incidents from happening again. 

What is a "dynamic brake car"? No such thing exists.

 

More mid-train helpers may help/have helped, but you're never totally going to make things completely, 100% reliable. That's the nature of the beast, unfortunately.

 

Dan

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