CN Derailment Caused by Weakened Track Structure

The latest Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada investigation report into a CN derailment says a derailment in 2011 “…resulted from the combined effects of the weakened track structure, worn truck components condition and the cornering behaviour of a double stack car.” (see TSB news release)

On July 14, 2011, a Canadian National Railway freight train derailed 11 multi-platform intermodal cars carrying 86 containers on CN’s Bala Subdivision near Waterfall, Ontario. About 6,800 feet of track was damaged or destroyed including a siding switch.

The TSB report goes on to say, “This is the third time the TSB has deployed to an intermodal freight train derailment on the Bala Subdivision. At Waterfall, the investigation determined that the rail spike pattern and tie plate size did not meet company specifications for the level of traffic and rail curvature at the location of the accident.”

Anyone who has watched moving rail cars loaded with double-stacked containers can attest to how unsafe this is. A significant amount of stress is produced on the outside track in a curve by double-stacked containers due to both the additional weight and the higher centre of gravity. Even on straight track, double-stacked cars often rock from side-to-side as the massive weight moves the track up and down.

The TSB has repeatedly warned CN about the problems associated with double-stacking and not adhering to track construction specifications and general rail safety measures. (See this link for more on CN derailments.)    

~ by railroaded on October 15, 2012.

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