Failing Infrastructure Caused Another CN Derailment

As one of numerous rail-related investigation reports released recently by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada, the latest one released today found that loose and broken lag screws lead to a Canadian National Railway derailment January 21, 2012 near Fabyan, Alberta (TSB news release). This is the third TSB investigation report released within the past week concerning CN derailments, and the seventh within the past 45 days concerning CN derailments or accidents on track maintained by CN.

The latest TSB report investigated the derailment of 31 cars as a CN train crossed the Fabyan Bridge on the Wainwright Subdivision line near Wainwright, Alberta. The outside rail in the curve at the end of the bridge rolled over, causing the derailment. About 1760 feet of track was destroyed, 17 of the derailed cars fell into the river valley far below, and there was significant damage to the bridge itself.

The TSB report reads, “The investigation found that a number of lag screws holding the track in place in the curve had progressively failed. As such, there were not enough remaining screws to adequately secure the track as the train went around the curve. Numerous track inspections took place in the days before the accident, but did not detect that the curve was under stress, and action was not taken to adequately secure the curve.”

Loose, broken or missing track fastening hardware is an issue prevalent on CN track across the country. We certainly see evidence of this on CN’s Camrose Subdivision Mainline. This is one of many reasons why there are so many derailments of CN trains. Derailments are: dangerous to the safety of railway employees and other nearby people such as those parked and waiting at railway crossings, hazardous to the environment (spills of toxic products), and costly to customers who ship goods by rail.

Rail experts have said it’s time for the railway industry and the federal government, which is legislatively responsible, to take railway safety more seriously. For more on CN derailments see this link.

~ by railroaded on October 25, 2012.

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