More CN Derailments

Railroaded CN logo oldThere appears to be no end to the growing number of derailments by CN. Over a short 4-day period from January 18 to 21, 2012, there were another 5 recorded derailments (there may in fact have been more):

1. Jan. 18: A CN freight train with 11 loaded coal cars collided with a stationary CN train on the main line between Hinton and Grande Cache, Alberta. One crew member was injured and taken to hospital by helicopter.

2. Jan. 18: A CN train carrying lumber and pulp products went off the tracks about 10km north of Prince George, British Columbia.

3. Jan. 20: 18 cars hauling plastic pellets and other merchandise derailed near Hay Lakes, Alberta.

4. Jan. 21: 13 coal cars derailed on the Tumbler Subdivision Line about 50km northeast of Prince George.

5. Jan. 21: 31 cars hauling grain derailed 32km west of Wainwright, Alberta and 17 cars fell off a trestle bridge into a river valley far below. There was significant damage to the Battle River bridge.

Additional details of these latest in a string of CN derailments can be found at: 250 News, Edmonton Sun, Edmonton Journal, Canadian Press (1), CBC News (1), CTV, Camrose Canadian, CBC News (2), and Canadian Press (2).

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada will be investigating some of these most recent derailments. It does not seem to matter how many investigations and reports by the Transportation Safety Board point out faults and errors by CN that have resulted in the skyrocketing increase in derailments, CN’s track record does not improve; rather it keeps getting worse.

CN derailments have been caused by: too long trains, rotting railway ties, loose rails, poor rail welds, switching problems in rail yards, human error, and many other cost-cutting measures by the rail giant.

Railroaded has commented on many previous occasions and asked what it will take for the Transportation Safety Board, Transport Canada or perhaps Parliament to get serious about charging and penalizing CN to force them to improve an abysmal safety record. Perhaps it will take some more serious accidents associated with these derailments to get the federal government’s attention.

For example, the fiery derailment of a CN train in June 2009 resulted in an Illinois county district court judge ordering CN to pay US$36 million to settle two negligence lawsuits. A 44-year-old woman died after a 114-car train including 74 tankers filled with 7.6 million litres of ethanol derailed and caused a massive explosion with flames engulfing her family’s vehicle stopped at a crossing. The woman’s husband and 19-year-old pregnant daughter escaped but were both injured, and the daughter’s baby was born prematurely after the accident and died.

The lawsuits claimed that Canada’s largest railway was negligent in the operation, maintenance and supervision of the train and track. CN had been informed about 20 minutes before the accident that a portion of their track had been washed out, but the train’s engineer who noticed water on the track, sped up the train. (See this Canadian Press article for additional details.)

You have to wonder why CP has been courting Hunter Harrison, retired CN CEO, to head up CP. Why would CP or anyone else want to hire someone who has been managing a company that has cut so many corners during the past, resulting in deteriorating rail infrastructure, a steadily-increasing number of derailments and other accidents, growing number of lawsuits filed and awarded against it, declining service to customers, and sagging morale among railway workers.

For more on CN derailments see this link.

~ by railroaded on January 23, 2012.

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