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Monday, July 22, 2013    

Canada's Transportation Safety Board issues advisories in wake of Quebec derailment


The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) on Friday announced it issued two "urgent safety advisories" to Transport Canada associated with its ongoing investigation into the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) derailment that occurred July 6 in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.

The first advisory pertains to the securement of equipment and trains left unattended. The TSB investigation determined that the braking force applied to the train that derailed was insufficient to hold it on the 1.2 percent descending slope. Therefore, the TSB has asked Transport Canada to review certain Canadian railroad operating rules and related railway special instructions to ensure that equipment and trains left unattended are properly secured to prevent unintended movements.

The second advisory concerns the securement of trains carrying hazardous materials. Given the importance of safely moving "dangerous goods" and the vulnerability of unattended equipment, the TSB has asked Transport Canada to review all railroad operating procedures to ensure that trains carrying dangerous goods are not left unattended on a main track, according to a press release.

The TSB also announced that it continues to make progress in its investigation. The board has: downloaded key information from the locomotive event recorder and braking unit; inspected the tracks, conducted a site survey, and completed photogrammetry and videography to determine track grade and position; conducted mechanical inspections and photographed 22 tank cars to document accident damage; taken samples of products inside selected tank cars to determine their exact properties; and interviewed the locomotive engineer, MMA employees and several first responders, such as firefighters.

The TSB currently is conducting three-dimensional (3D) laser imaging of the accident scene with help from the National Transportation Safety Board. The imaging will record 3D data of the scene and different pieces of the wreckage.

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