The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has asked Transport Canada to review its rules regarding the securement of equipment and trains left unattended and the securement of trains carrying dangerous goods, in relation to the TSB’s ongoing investigation into the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway train derailment on July 6 in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.
The TSB investigation has determined that the braking force applied was insufficient to hold the train on the 1.2 percent descending slope, and the TSB has requested via a safety advisory letter that Transport Canada review the Canadian Rail Operating Rules 112 on securing equipment, as well as the related railway special instructions, to ensure that equipment and trains left unattended are properly secured, in order to prevent unintended movements.
Furthermore, the TSB is asking Transport Canada to review all railway operating procedures to ensure that trains carrying dangerous goods are not left unattended on a main track.
The TSB said that it is continuing to make progress in its investigation, as numerous investigators and other experts are working on site; at the headquarters in Gatineau, Quebec; and at TSB’s engineering laboratory in Ottawa, Ontario. The agency added that it has collected data from Transport Canada to examine regulatory oversight.
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, which represents MMA train and engine service employees in the U.S., has repeated its opposition of one-person train operations and has called for federal law and collectively bargained contract language to require two crew members on every train:
“During the past 20 years, numerous railroads — both Class Is and short lines — have pursued the introduction of single-person operation of these trains,” said Dennis R. Pierce, national president of the union, in a written statement. “All of the safety advantages of the current crew consist — observation of both sides of trains for defects, dual-sided vigilance at road crossings, separating trains to maintain open road crossings, someone to stop the train should the engineer become disabled — simply disappear in a single-person operation.” Pierce then called for a ban on what he termed the “inherently unsafe single-person operation of freight trains.”