The BNSF derailment at Doon, Iowa

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The BNSF derailment at Doon, Iowa
Posted by NP Eddie on Saturday, June 23, 2018 11:33 AM

ALL:

WCCO-TV has great photos of a key (unit crude oil) train that derailed near Doon, Iowa. This is on the Marshall Sub (X-GN) between Willmar, MN and Sioux City, Iowa. Any news on the cause of the derailment? The track is surrounded by water.

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Posted by Euclid on Saturday, June 23, 2018 11:59 AM

Here is a link with the following statement:

https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2018/06/22/iowa-oil-train-spill/

“Officials at the scene agreed that floodwater from the swollen Little Rock River played a part in causing the cars to leave the tracks, but said they weren’t yet sure whether the waters compromised the track, physically pushed the cars off it or played a part in some other way.”

 

I doubt that the flood water physically pushed the cars off the track because the company would not have run the train through high enough water to exert that much side force. 

It is much more likely that the high water saturated the fill, and then the vibratory action of the passing train increased the saturation to the point where roadbed lost its ability to support the train. 

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Posted by NP Eddie on Saturday, June 23, 2018 6:48 PM

In any instance, I don't understand why the BNSF allowed the train to proceed southward into Doon.  One question: was a Track Inspector notified of flooding and had he inspected the track?

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Posted by Euclid on Saturday, June 23, 2018 8:38 PM

NP Eddie

In any instance, I don't understand why the BNSF allowed the train to proceed southward into Doon.  One question: was a Track Inspector notified of flooding and had he inspected the track?

Ed Burns

 

 

I would like to know the answer to that question too.  I also wonder how fast the train was traveling when it derailed.  I suspect it was around 40 mph. 

 

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Posted by NP Eddie on Saturday, June 23, 2018 10:47 PM

Euclid:

Doon, Iowa is 164.6 (from Willmar, MN). I don't find any speed restrictions for Doon, but max speed would probably 40-45 MPH. I will check Monday and see if the NTSB started a "Go-Team" to this derailment.

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, June 24, 2018 3:14 PM

It certainly is a classic example of an accordion pileup.  It looks like the derailment began about 7 cars back from the engines.  Three cars stayed in line with the track as they were pulled ahead until stopping.  The next three cars were turned out of track line, but apparently only by their own kinetic energy.  But then the next cars dug in and were turned sideways by the train-buckling, shoving force of the oncoming trailing cars.  One by one, the cars buckled at their couplings and zigzagged into a crosswise stack. 

As that stack grew larger with each additional car, the stack became more resistant to the shoving force of the oncoming cars still on the rails.  So each car added to the stack was subjected to a greater potential compressive force than the one preceding it.  As the compression force rose, each added car was more likely to be collapsed by the compression, and thus ejecting its contents through the resulting, punctures, tears, and pressure bursting.   

This sheriff’s video was apparently taken as evidence, since it shows every detail of the entire wreck scene including the oil slick, the river flow, the river trestle, the pileup of cars, and all the trailing cars still on the rails.

 

https://www.facebook.com/Sioux.County.Sheriff/videos/1782149598499719/

 

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Posted by dehusman on Sunday, June 24, 2018 6:40 PM

Since the heavy rains had been going on for days, I rather doubt that the weather was a surprise.

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Posted by NP Eddie on Sunday, June 24, 2018 7:24 PM

I am curious what the forward facing camera on the lead locomotive shows. The 2015 Lesterville, South Dakota ethanol train derailment shows track out of alignment (from a prior train). The cause of that derailment was bad track---why would a railroad run a "key" train on Class 1 track?

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, June 24, 2018 7:35 PM

NP Eddie
I am curious what the forward facing camera on the lead locomotive shows. The 2015 Lesterville, South Dakota ethanol train derailment shows track out of alignment (from a prior train). The cause of that derailment was bad track---why would a railroad run a "key" train on Class 1 track?

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Posted by NP Eddie on Monday, June 25, 2018 5:04 PM

Balt:

You are correct that it is not "exempt" track, but wouldn't common sense tell the BNSF managers that Class 1 track (10 MPH) and heavy ethanol cars is not a good idea to run a Key train on that track?

Does anyone know if the NTSB will be investigating the Doon, Iowa derailment?

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Monday, June 25, 2018 5:28 PM

     Was that really class1 track? The state had sunk a lot of money into that line before selling it to BNSF. I would have thought it to be in pretty good shape.

     Wouldn't they have to run the heavy ethanol trains on that track, as that's the one that runs by the ethanol plant.

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Posted by mudchicken on Monday, June 25, 2018 6:50 PM

Norris: It's 49mph Class 4 track...somebody is talking out their you know what. The question is what or if there was a slow order to a lesser class of track as a temporary reaction to local conditions.....and when was the last track inspection/ patrol from a hi-rail.

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Posted by RDG467 on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 10:33 AM

mudchicken

Norris: It's 49mph Class 4 track...somebody is talking out their you know what. The question is what or if there was a slow order to a lesser class of track as a temporary reaction to local conditions.....and when was the last track inspection/ patrol from a hi-rail. 

 

Mudchicken,  *if* the cause was roadbed saturation and the track hadn't subsided or shifted visibly, I wonder if a hi-rail have been heavy enough to trigger/detect the problem before the oil train's arrival?

The derailment site is between Garfield Ave, the road shown in the beginning of the Sheriff's  drone footage and 270th St, which intersects Garfield out of view to the left of the farm (at the 0.10" mark). There's a pond in the triangle formed by the roads and railroad. The track crosses the flooded Little Rock river north of the grade crossing at Garfield. See coords 43.258963 and -96.235277.  Using Street View, the roadbed appears to be about 6 feet higher than the terrain, so it wasn't a *huge* embankment...... 

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Posted by petitnj on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 11:37 AM

With all the flood warnings and the high water and the hazardous cargo, this train should have crept thru the area. Every once in a while railroaders should use common sense and be cautious. 

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Posted by NP Eddie on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 12:05 PM

The question(s) still are not answered yet and probably not until the NTSB report comes out. 1. Was the track inspected prior to the derailment? 2. Did the train crew know about any restrictions? One or two old ICC reports deal with derailments on skeltonized track or obstructions on the track and the trains were not notified about these problems.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 1:25 PM

petitnj

With all the flood warnings and the high water and the hazardous cargo, this train should have crept thru the area. Every once in a while railroaders should use common sense and be cautious. 

 

How would you determine when a train needed to creep through an area, and how would you detemine the acceptable speed?

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 1:27 PM

NP Eddie

The question(s) still are not answered yet and probably not until the NTSB report comes out. 1. Was the track inspected prior to the derailment? 2. Did the train crew know about any restrictions? One or two old ICC reports deal with derailments on skeltonized track or obstructions on the track and the trains were not notified about these problems.

Ed Burns

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Where does talk of skeletonized track and obstructions come into this discussion?

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Posted by Euclid on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 1:57 PM

Murphy Siding
 
petitnj

With all the flood warnings and the high water and the hazardous cargo, this train should have crept thru the area. Every once in a while railroaders should use common sense and be cautious. 

 

 

 

How would you determine when a train needed to creep through an area, and how would you detemine the acceptable speed?

 

 

I would determine that the train should creep through the area based on the fact that the site is on a fill that is surrounded by water up to the bottom of the ballast.   

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 2:01 PM

Euclid
 
Murphy Siding
 
petitnj

With all the flood warnings and the high water and the hazardous cargo, this train should have crept thru the area. Every once in a while railroaders should use common sense and be cautious.  

How would you determine when a train needed to creep through an area, and how would you detemine the acceptable speed? 

I would determine that the train should creep through the area based on the fact that the site is on a fill that is surrounded by water up to the bottom of the ballast.   

Creep is not an Official Speed.

         

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Posted by Euclid on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 2:13 PM

 

BaltACD
 
Euclid
 
Murphy Siding
 
petitnj

With all the flood warnings and the high water and the hazardous cargo, this train should have crept thru the area. Every once in a while railroaders should use common sense and be cautious.  

How would you determine when a train needed to creep through an area, and how would you detemine the acceptable speed? 

I would determine that the train should creep through the area based on the fact that the site is on a fill that is surrounded by water up to the bottom of the ballast.   

 

Creep is not an Official Speed.

 

Officially, I would determine that the train should not exceed 10 mph through the area based on the fact that the site is on a fill that is surrounded by water up to the bottom of the ballast. 

 

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Posted by petitnj on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 4:00 PM

yes creep is an official speed. If you see water all around on a newly restored track with culverts everywhere, slow down. At some point the crew has to recognize the danger and act accordingly. If we had to issue orders for every possiblity, then a robot could carry out the command. Wait! That is in the offiing with driverless trains. Go to nws.noaa.gov for Doon, IA and look at all the warnings. Rule X covers this -- think!

 

 

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 5:00 PM

petitnj

yes creep is an official speed. If you see water all around on a newly restored track with culverts everywhere, slow down. At some point the crew has to recognize the danger and act accordingly. If we had to issue orders for every possiblity, then a robot could carry out the command. Wait! That is in the offiing with driverless trains. Go to nws.noaa.gov for Doon, IA and look at all the warnings. Rule X covers this -- think!

 

 

 

Is this a newly restored track?

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Posted by Euclid on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 5:15 PM

It looks like ballast has been spread out several feet beyond the ends of the ties, which may indicate recent track restoration.  But slowing down to creep speed would be advisable whether or not the track has been recently restored.  I have not seen any information stating how high the water was when the train passed, or the maximum height it had been prior to the train passing. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 6:19 PM

petitnj
yes creep is an official speed.

Not defined in any of the rule books I have read.  B&O, Chessie, CSX and a number of others.

         

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Posted by petitnj on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 6:44 PM

USOR Rule A "Safety (is) the most important element(s) in preforming duties. When in doubt, the safe course must be taken". GCOR Rule 1.1 "Safety is the most important element in performing duties... 1.1.1 In case of doubt or uncertainty, take the safe course." These are the only two rule books and BNSF uses GCOR. Crews need to be aware of uncertain conditions and slow down. Railroading is not a game of "let's see how close to the speed limit we can go." Even though autos play this game, railroads shouldn't. We continue to have accident after accident where situational awareness is lost and the train doesn't slow down when in doubt. And blasting thru flooded fields at 4:30 in the morning is a good time to doubt what is going on. 

 

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Posted by n012944 on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 7:18 PM

petitnj

USOR Rule A "Safety (is) the most important element(s) in preforming duties. When in doubt, the safe course must be taken". GCOR Rule 1.1 "Safety is the most important element in performing duties... 1.1.1 In case of doubt or uncertainty, take the safe course." These are the only two rule books and BNSF uses GCOR. Crews need to be aware of uncertain conditions and slow down. Railroading is not a game of "let's see how close to the speed limit we can go." Even though autos play this game, railroads shouldn't. We continue to have accident after accident where situational awareness is lost and the train doesn't slow down when in doubt. And blasting thru flooded fields at 4:30 in the morning is a good time to doubt what is going on. 

 

 

 

It is good to know that you have looked at the download and know how fast the train was going at the time of the derailment.  What was the offical tale of the tape when it came to the speed when the air dumped?

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 7:33 PM

n012944
 
petitnj

USOR Rule A "Safety (is) the most important element(s) in preforming duties. When in doubt, the safe course must be taken". GCOR Rule 1.1 "Safety is the most important element in performing duties... 1.1.1 In case of doubt or uncertainty, take the safe course." These are the only two rule books and BNSF uses GCOR. Crews need to be aware of uncertain conditions and slow down. Railroading is not a game of "let's see how close to the speed limit we can go." Even though autos play this game, railroads shouldn't. We continue to have accident after accident where situational awareness is lost and the train doesn't slow down when in doubt. And blasting thru flooded fields at 4:30 in the morning is a good time to doubt what is going on.  

It is good to know that you have looked at the download and know how fast the train was going at the time of the derailment.  What was the offical tale of the tape when it came to the speed when the air dumped?

Had to be doing at least 90 [/sarcasm]

         

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Posted by Euclid on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 7:42 PM

 

If the flood conditions warranted slowing down because of saturated or undermined roadbed; if they slowed down at all, obviously it was not slow enough, considering that the derailment put 36 cars on the ground. 

 

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 8:05 PM

petitnj

USOR Rule A "Safety (is) the most important element(s) in preforming duties. When in doubt, the safe course must be taken". GCOR Rule 1.1 "Safety is the most important element in performing duties... 1.1.1 In case of doubt or uncertainty, take the safe course." These are the only two rule books and BNSF uses GCOR. Crews need to be aware of uncertain conditions and slow down. Railroading is not a game of "let's see how close to the speed limit we can go." Even though autos play this game, railroads shouldn't. We continue to have accident after accident where situational awareness is lost and the train doesn't slow down when in doubt. And blasting thru flooded fields at 4:30 in the morning is a good time to doubt what is going on. 

 

 

I guess I'm not seeing the word "creep" in there. Also,is this a newly restored track? I'm wondering where that info is coming from?

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Posted by Euclid on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 8:26 PM

Murphy Siding
 
petitnj

USOR Rule A "Safety (is) the most important element(s) in preforming duties. When in doubt, the safe course must be taken". GCOR Rule 1.1 "Safety is the most important element in performing duties... 1.1.1 In case of doubt or uncertainty, take the safe course." These are the only two rule books and BNSF uses GCOR. Crews need to be aware of uncertain conditions and slow down. Railroading is not a game of "let's see how close to the speed limit we can go." Even though autos play this game, railroads shouldn't. We continue to have accident after accident where situational awareness is lost and the train doesn't slow down when in doubt. And blasting thru flooded fields at 4:30 in the morning is a good time to doubt what is going on. 

 

 

 

 

I guess I'm not seeing the word "creep" in there. Also,is this a newly restored track? I'm wondering where that info is coming from?

 

 

Creep means to move slowly and carefully.  It is not defined in terms of speed.  It only requires common sense judgement, just like the rule phrase:  “In case of doubt or uncertainty, take the safe course." The safe course in terms of speed does not require a specific rate of speed.  It only requires a speed that provides the safe course in the case of doubt or uncertainty.  A speed that moves slowly and carefully sounds just right for the safe course during times of doubt or uncertainty.

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