CN Derailment Points to Weak Transport Canada

On January 21, 2013, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada again called on Transport Canada to improve wheel safety inspections by developing regulations, following a derailment in 2011 of a CN Rail freight train (The Province).

Railroaded CN logo oldThe CN train derailed December 21, 2011 near Caribou, British Columbia when a broken wheel caused 19 loaded coal cars to go off the tracks, according to a recent TSB investigation report. The vertical split rim incident that caused this particular crash has become more prevalent in recent derailments. Tiny cracks develop from wear on train wheels and eventually cause pieces of the wheel to fall off. A similar accident occurred along the same line near Fort Fraser, B. C. on February 12, 2011, when 36 CN coal cars derailed.

Inspection systems called Wheel Impact Load Detectors (WILD) are supposed to alert railways to potential defects by measuring the impact a wheel has on a rail as a train passes. However, TSB investigators wrote there is an increased risk of wheel failures when car maintenance policies are too flexible, which has recently become a growing concern. The Association ofRailroaded Association of American Railroads logo American Railroads has established a threshold of 90,000 pounds of impact for U.S. rail operators to pull the train and replace wheels. Transport Canada has nothing in place for wheel defect detection within their freight car inspection rules. On December 1, 2011, the TSB had called on Transport Canada to put a threshold in place, similar to what’s been done in the U.S., but apparently to date all Transport Canada has done is suggest they might convene a meeting of affected parties.

Until Transport Canada gets serious about improving rail safety by passing regulations to force companies like CN to appropriately practice maintenance and other safety procedures, we will likely continue to see the number of derailments escalate as trains get longer, heavier and older, and as Canadian rail companies continue to cut corners to increase profits.

See this link for more CN derailments.

~ by railroaded on January 23, 2013.

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