How will the deadline train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, affect the transportation of crude oil by rail. Will public outcry result in new rail safety regulations in Canada or the U.S.?
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Quebec Derailment May Spur Change in Crude Oil Transport Regs
This was a tragic event. Basic to the discussion though is that this train was moving without any engineers. No one was at the helm to manage the train's speed or direction. I think the changes in regulations need to focus, as always, on how this would have been PREVENTED back in the rail yard. I don't know enough about the specifics in this case but was the route the train took even a "normal" route for an oil train? Obviously without an engineer onboard, there was no way to control the speed though the town. In the US, the railroads are working toward a deadline to have remotely activated "deadman" switches on all trains that would allow a central dispatch operation to stop any train, even one without an engineer or where the engineer was unable to function.
Thanks for your comments, @FQLLogistics. As I understand, the train was parked on the railroad's main line near Nantes, Quebec, about seven miles from Lac-Mégantic. The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway uses this route to haul freight between coastal Maine and Montreal, and oil is an important commodity for the MM&A. The engineer parked the train and then left for a hotel in Lac-Mégantic. There was no one onboard or with the train between crew changes, which the railroad claimed is not unusual. Sometime in the early morning, the train began to move and rolled down a 1.2% grade, gathering steam, until the tank cars derailed in the town.
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