CN runaway train

6894 views
72 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December, 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 974 posts
CN runaway train
Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, January 12, 2018 7:06 PM

As sent to me, the TSB is investigating:

"Occurrence No.: R18E0007 Occurrence Type: INCIDENT
Occurrence Date: 2018-01-10 Accident/Incident Type: RUNAWAY ROLLING STOCK
Occurrence Time: 02:40 Subdivision Owner: CN - CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY CO. Classification: BEING ASSESSED Subdivision Name: MOUNTAIN PARK
Province: ALBERTA Subdivision Mileage: 22.40
Nearest Town/City: LEYLAND Yard Name:
DG Cars Involved: 0 Spur Name: LUSCAR INDUSTRIAL
DG Released: 0 Spur Mileage: 5.00
Train Operator: CN - CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY CO.
INJURIES Fatal:   0 Serious:   0 Minor:   0
Occurrence Summary:
CN coal train assignment, operating with locomotives CN 2870, CN 2888 and departing Luscar with 56L, 5269T, 3195F, lost control of the train on the Luscar Industrial Spur, attaining speed of 53 MPH. Crew initiated emergency brake application, stopping the movement at Mile 0.5. No injuries. No derailment. Track damage unknown. CN officials responding."

http://tsb.gc.ca/eng/medias-media/deploiement-deployment/rail/2018/20180110.asp

For those unfamiliar with the area, this took place on what is known as the Alberta Coal Branch, a line running southwest from Edson, AB to several mines, with numerous steep grades.  The Luscar Industrial Spur has a four mile 3% descending grade with a speed limit of 15 mph, and this is what the train ran away on, only stopping after they reached the bottom of the hill.  As far as I know this is the steepest grade on CN's system, and Luscar is the highest elevation any railway reaches in Canada.  

I used to work on the Coal Branch (I have since transferred to a neighboring terminal) and know both individuals who were onboard.  They are lucky to be alive. 

They would have run away between these two points (following the track of course):

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/53.0666985,-117.4002564/53.0480503,-117.3222363/@53.0828206,-117.3226198,13z/data=!3m1!1e3

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 6,366 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, January 12, 2018 9:06 PM

In my opinion this is much worse than it looks from the outcome.  In that short distance, the train got to a peak speed of 53mph, well above the critical speed around 23mph where fade makes practical retardation by the brakeshoes 'nugatory' at best at any achievable cylinder pressure while still on heavy downgrade ... and still got it stopped half a mile from the junction.  That has to involve very high acceleration early in the descent ... and some perhaps-considerable distance where enough of the consist was off the grade, for enough time, that the brakes could take effect sufficient to bring it below the critical speed range and then to a stop.  Without having seen the specific grade profile for that branch, I'd have said that a train that weight on such a piece of track could not have been safely recovered from that speed, so I have learned something here.  Hell of a way to find out, though!

  • Member since
    December, 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 974 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, January 12, 2018 9:34 PM

After departing the coal mine tipple the descending grade is between 2.5% and 3.1% from about mile 5.5 to mile 1.  Then there is a >1% uphill climb to the junction switch area.  That rise is what stopped the runaway.

20 mph is considered to be "out of control" on that line, for good reason.  I would be shocked if the crew waited any longer than that before putting the train in emergency, which means the train continued to dramatically accelerate even after emergency braking was applied.

There was another runaway on the same line about 10 years ago that also ended up doing over 50 mph without derailing.  I am still amazed that any train could make it around some of those curves at 50+ mph without overturning, but this makes it twice.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

NDG
  • Member since
    December, 2013
  • 803 posts
Posted by NDG on Friday, January 12, 2018 10:28 PM

 

Weather? Temp. Snowing. Wind.
 

Thank You.

  • Member since
    December, 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 974 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, January 12, 2018 10:48 PM

It was cold, probably in the -25°C area.  There is probably lots of snow on the ground but I am not sure how much was left on the track, they do plow it regularly.

The Cadomin area is notorious for its winds, not sure what it was like that day though.

It was -40 when the other runaway happened about 10 years ago.  Cold can expose and magnify pre-existing problems as well as create its own.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 21,497 posts
Posted by selector on Saturday, January 13, 2018 12:30 AM

Knowing next to nothing about such things (so it's not a risible question), could some of the brakes have been weakened or inoperable in such conditions?  What would be the one, two, or three most likely causes of this mishap?

NDG
  • Member since
    December, 2013
  • 803 posts
Posted by NDG on Saturday, January 13, 2018 5:00 AM

Thank You.

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: NotIn, TX
  • 524 posts
Posted by VerMontanan on Saturday, January 13, 2018 10:52 AM

What would be the (ultimate) destination of this coal?  Prince Rupert?  And given that the train was only 5369 tons, a midget in CN terms, would this cut of cars eventually be put together with others to form a much longer train?

Mark Meyer

  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Southeast Michigan
  • 2,983 posts
Posted by Norm48327 on Saturday, January 13, 2018 11:41 AM

SD70Dude
It was cold, probably in the -25°C area.

Please use the farinheit scale. Celsius is far to crude to dfetermine human comfort. It may be OK for science but is lacking in other respects.

Norm


  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 6,366 posts
Posted by Overmod on Saturday, January 13, 2018 11:55 AM

As a card-carrying user and defender of Fahrenheit (note sp.) but also a frequent user of the centigrade system, I do have to say that anyone who chooses to post in either system because familiar with it or preferring to use it has no need to translate their figure to the other system when the conversion is so simple.  Especially when exactitude within a fraction of a degree is unnecessary ... as here.

Easiest way is to take a tenth (with decimal as appropriate) of the figure to be converted -- here, that's 2.5.  (This is used to get to the 9/5 conversion factor that's half of the solution).  Double the number (here, that is -50) and adjust out the 1/10 (so -47.5) and then add the 32 for the baseline correction (so around -15).  I taught my six-year-old daughter to do this kind of thing in her head, and I have little doubt that you can, too.

If you need a magnitude check on which way the corrections apply, remember that there is one place where both systems are equal, and it's not too far 'south' of -25 degrees.

In this particular case it's ridiculous to cite 'human comfort' as a factor giving preference to Fahrenheit: in either system it's #^$&ing cold!

The point can be made, and I frequently make it, that Celsius is relatively worthless for comfort temperatures because its degrees are too coarse.  That can be fixed reasonably well with decimals, which turn out to be necessary in Fahrenheit, too, for areas like human body temperature or the usual 'comfort range' of adjustment on thermostats (where "70" can be too cold and "71" too hot for more people than would likely admit to it).

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 3,393 posts
Posted by Miningman on Saturday, January 13, 2018 12:32 PM

Canada converted to Metric April 1 1975..Cold Turkey too!, ...just like that. The great unwashed mumbled a lot but to no avail. It is done and for a considerable amount of time now. No one talks Deg. F any longer.

SD70Dude is a younger chap, probably not even born yet in 1975. He grew up and was taught in school Deg C always. 

Surely Norm you can do the conversion yourself. Another suggestion would be to put a simple auto conversion calculator on your desktop..just plug in a number and bingo. 

As Overmod states, and have I in the past several times, -25 is just damn cold C or F. Also, as Overmod alluded to, at -40 C and F are the same.

Travelling through the USA last summer all the weather temperatures were in deg F. It was like going back in time for me and I found myself converting to C just to see if we come close to that at home. Of course the humidity was way off, we do not get that thick stuff in Saskatchewan but they do in Toronto and Southern Ontario. 

The humidity was the real difference. How on earth do you breath in that stuff? 

  • Member since
    April, 2007
  • From: Iowa
  • 2,897 posts
Posted by Semper Vaporo on Saturday, January 13, 2018 12:46 PM

Maybe you frequently use "Centigrade" but what does a mispelling of one-hundredth of a Grad (an angular measure similar to Degrees, but 400 to a circle instead of 360) have to do with temperature?  I think you meant "Celsius".

The only problem with Celsius is that the American education system doesn't teach Mettrick well and none of the Weather Prevaricator services use it, so us'n Merikuns don't not know whut it means.

Semper Vaporo

Pkgs.

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 302,135 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, January 13, 2018 1:25 PM

Semper Vaporo
Maybe you frequently use "Centigrade" but what does a mispelling of one-hundredth of a Grad (an angular measure similar to Degrees, but 400 to a circle instead of 360) have to do with temperature?  I think you meant "Celsius".

Centigrade is another perhaps old fashioned term for degree Celsius. The name comes from the Celsius scale dividing the difference between freezing and boiling temperatures of water into 100 units (freezing 0°C, boiling 100°C)
Regards, Volker

  • Member since
    October, 2008
  • From: Calgary
  • 1,768 posts
Posted by cx500 on Saturday, January 13, 2018 1:37 PM

Actually Miningman is not completely correct in saying that Canada converted to metric cold turkey.  Temperature is largely metric, as are weights, but both systems are still around.  Some overhead clearances on the highways are shown in both feet and metres, although that can be a waste of time when the truckers ignore both!  And at the lumber yard we still buy 8' and 12' lengths of 2x4s.

And one of my older tape measures might confuse folks both sides of the 49th parallel, since instead of inches it is marked in decimal feet.  That was often used in surveying.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 9,612 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, January 13, 2018 1:39 PM

Oh, why not use the Kelvin scale--at zero, everything is frozen, and water ice melts about 216.--and the water boils at 316?

Of course, when we talk about body temperature, we really bear down of tenths of a degree.

Yes, in my dinosaur pup days, "centigrade" was the word. The commonly used scale was named for the man who devised it, and apparently it was decided to rename the 100 degree scale to honor its deviser.

Also, mile posts are still used by the railroads in Canada.

Johnny

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 3,393 posts
Posted by Miningman on Saturday, January 13, 2018 2:09 PM

cx500--- Was referring only to the temperature scale....feet and inches and such did not fly overnight. Celsius was enacted 'boom and ruthless'.  Canadians still announce their height and weight in Imperial...5'10", 180ibs....no one uses metric for that although doctors do. Very few ask for grams of this and that at the deli counter. I hold up my hands or fingers and say "I would like this much salami please".

The one I'm perpetually baffled by is L/100 km instead of MPG. People still ask " what kind of mileage do you get?" Not "how many Litres per Hundred Kilometers do you get."  Say whaaat? 

I firmly believe (it was the original Trudeau) defiantly and stupidly flipping the bird to the Americans. It was totally unecessary, but here we are. 

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 9,612 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, January 13, 2018 2:21 PM

You did go to dollars many years ago, and did not stay with pounds, shillings and pence, along with crowns and guineas. By the way, how much is a florin? I understand that this coin was still in use in England in the forties.

Johnny

  • Member since
    April, 2007
  • From: Iowa
  • 2,897 posts
Posted by Semper Vaporo on Saturday, January 13, 2018 2:31 PM

I go by Miles per Dollar and fear the day when it will make more sense to refer to Dollars per Mile!

Semper Vaporo

Pkgs.

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 3,393 posts
Posted by Miningman on Saturday, January 13, 2018 2:37 PM

Deggesty--- Yeah but--the winner of the Queens Plate, North Americas oldest continuously run horse race receives a purse of 50 Guineas. 

Every year in the winners circle you can hear "What the hell is this?"

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 9,612 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, January 13, 2018 2:45 PM

Miningman

Deggesty--- Yeah but--the winner of the Queens Plate, North Americas oldest continuously run horse race receives a bag of 50 Guineas. 

Every year in the winners circle you can hear "What the hell is this?"

 

These are guinea coins, valued at 21 shillings each? What is their approximate equivalent in current Canadian currency?

Johnny

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 3,393 posts
Posted by Miningman on Saturday, January 13, 2018 3:00 PM

Deggesty-- All I can surmise from the net is that a Guinea contains 1/4 ounce of gold and 'Tis a splendid thing'. 

It would be 1,050 shillings...all I get is various African country shillings.

Someone weigh in!

 

 
Miningman

Deggesty--- Yeah but--the winner of the Queens Plate, North Americas oldest continuously run horse race receives a bag of 50 Guineas. 

Every year in the winners circle you can hear "What the hell is this?"

 

 

 

These are guinea coins, valued at 21 shillings each? What is their approximate equivalent in current Canadian currency?

 

 

[/quote]

  • Member since
    July, 2010
  • From: Louisiana
  • 1,619 posts
Posted by Paul of Covington on Saturday, January 13, 2018 3:50 PM

cx500
Some overhead clearances on the highways are shown in both feet and metres

   All this quibbling over measurements is a waste of time.   The real issue that's important is the spelling of "metres" instead of "meters"!  Devil

   Sorry about that.

_____________

   "A stranger is just a friend you ain't met yet."  ___ Dave Gardner

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 9,612 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, January 13, 2018 3:58 PM

Paul of Covington

 

 
cx500
Some overhead clearances on the highways are shown in both feet and metres

 

   All this quibbling over measurements is a waste of time.   The real issue that's important is the spelling of "metres" instead of "meters"!  Devil

   Sorry about that.

 

Yes, they just can't get away from the Norman spelling. My Anglo-Saxon ancestors knew how to spell.Smile

Johnny

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 21,497 posts
Posted by selector on Saturday, January 13, 2018 6:03 PM

Semper Vaporo

Maybe you frequently use "Centigrade" but what does a mispelling of one-hundredth of a Grad (an angular measure similar to Degrees, but 400 to a circle instead of 360) have to do with temperature? 

Centum = one hundred

Gradus = gradient or step.  Base ten, IOW. 

Degree = unit of temperature irrespective of scale.

No hands, pounds, stones, feet, fahrenheits, sheep, pimples, or follicles harmed in this discussion.Geeked

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 3,393 posts
Posted by Miningman on Saturday, January 13, 2018 6:13 PM

Have discovered and understand that Guineas are still used in Horse Racing ( evident by the Queens Plate's purse ) and in the purchase and trading of Rams ( not the Dodge type), you know Bah bah, those Rams. 

'Tis a lovely thing!

  • Member since
    April, 2007
  • From: Iowa
  • 2,897 posts
Posted by Semper Vaporo on Saturday, January 13, 2018 6:51 PM

selector
 
Semper Vaporo

Maybe you frequently use "Centigrade" but what does a mispelling of one-hundredth of a Grad (an angular measure similar to Degrees, but 400 to a circle instead of 360) have to do with temperature? 

 

 

Centum = one hundred

Gradus = gradient or step.  Base ten, IOW. 

Degree = unit of temperature irrespective of scale.

No hands, pounds, stones, feet, fahrenheits, sheep, pimples, or follicles harmed in this discussion.Geeked

HA!  It went right past me that "degree" is an overloaded term.

Semper Vaporo

Pkgs.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 9,612 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, January 13, 2018 7:34 PM

And there are 360 degrees around the world. 

I am currently reading Sam Clemens(aka Mark Twain)'s work The Innocents Abroad, wherein he purportedly describes an excursion he, in company with about 149 other people, made to Europe and the Middle East in 1867. He mentions a young man from the Midwest who was greatly disturbed by the fact that noon came sooner every day as the ship went east--he had a new watch that seemed to be losing time no matter how much he advanced the regulator. I will see if there is comment on the young man's reaction as his watch seems to gain time at noon each day on the return across the Atlantic.

By the way, we here observe Denver time part of the year, and New Orleans time most of the year.

I looked the coin "florin" up--in England it was valued at two bob (shillings) at the end of its use; so a florin was valued at a little less than a half crown.

Johnny

  • Member since
    December, 2005
  • From: Cardiff, CA
  • 2,930 posts
Posted by erikem on Saturday, January 13, 2018 10:46 PM

Deggesty

Oh, why not use the Kelvin scale--at zero, everything is frozen, and water ice melts about 216.--and the water boils at 316?

Freezing point of water is 273K plus a bit of change.

373K (plus a bit of change) corresponds to where the vapor pressure of water is equal to standard atmospheric pressure.

IIRC, 0F corresponds to the lowest temperature acheiveable with ice and NaCl and 100F was set to be body temperature.

Of course, when we talk about body temperature, we really bear down of tenths of a degree.

IIRC, the person who establlblised average body temperature reported it as 37C, with the implication that individual body temperatures would vary from that point. 98.6F is 37C exactly.

For most of the work that I do with temperature, absolute scales are usually the way to go and conversion is trivial between Rankine and Kelvin. With the so-so exception of BTU and water, any conversion from energy input to temperature rise will require looking up the appropriate coefficient.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 9,612 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Sunday, January 14, 2018 7:47 AM

All I can say is that it has been many years since I worried about Kelvin.

Johnny

  • Member since
    December, 2005
  • From: Cardiff, CA
  • 2,930 posts
Posted by erikem on Sunday, January 14, 2018 11:09 AM

Understood.

Kelvin comes up rather frequently in the electronics biz, as thermal noise is based on absolute temperature, and make frequent use of the Celsius to Kelvin conversion.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy