CN Rail Blamed for Fatal Train Derailment
Railroaded has blogged previously on the fiery 2009 CN derailment in the United States that killed one person and injured seven others. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released a report that determined Canadian National Railway acted too slowly to warn an oncoming train of a track washout in Cherry Valley, Illinois, resulting in the fatal crash (see Vancouver Sun and Associated Press articles).
The derailment of tank cars carrying flammable ethanol caused a massive explosion that killed an occupant of a car stopped at a rail crossing and seriously injured two other passengers in the same car and five occupants of another car stopped at the same crossing.
The NTSB report indicated, “There were missteps and miscommunications, procedures not followed and poor decisions,” and “There were multiple points where this catastrophe could have been averted, but it was not.” The Board found that the washout had been discovered about an hour before the train’s arrival, but CN’s “inadequate emergency communication procedures prevented timely notification.” The report also found that CN’s “failure to work with Winnebago County to develop a comprehensive storm water management design to address previous washouts in 2006 and 2007” contributed to the derailment. The report contained many more criticisms of CN and made many recommendations for improvement.
This is but one of many damning reports by American and Canadian transportation safety agencies of CN’s safety procedures in both countries. These reports do not appear to have improved CN’s safety record as the number of derailments continues to climb, and points to the ever-increasing cost-cutting measures of the corporation as it seeks to increase profits at the expense of human safety.
For more on CN derailments see this link.