Tuesday, December 5, 2006 at 7:01 pm

Train Accident Roundup

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Train accidents happen all the time, largely because there are so many trains on the track at any given moment. Here’s a roundup of news about train accidents, just in North America, just in the last couple of days:

Following up on yesterday’s Union Pacific derailment in Illinois, the track has been replaced and the line has been reopened; the chemical spilled was a petrochemical used in lubricants, and is not considered a serious threat. Good thing, because 75,000 litres of it was spilled.

Meanwhile, on the Alaska Railroad, a familiar (if not exactly common) occurrence in mountain railroading took place on Sunday: a train rounds a bend and hits a large rock on the tracks. The rock breached the lead locomotive’s fuel tank, spilling 4,500 litres of diesel. Cleanup efforts are continuing.

A man on a VIA Rail train from Toronto to Montreal fell to his death yesterday, forcing the train to stop for several hours. No details as to why he fell.

A Union Pacific conductor was seriously injured in a truck-train accident in Carson, California.

Canadian National, appropriately, had two minor accidents in the past 48 hours: 17 lumber and wood chip cars and two distributed-power locomotives derailed south of Chetwynd, British Columbia yesterday morning, and about 25 cars, mostly empty auto carriers, derailed in CN’s Symington Yard in Winnipeg early this morning. Neither accident involved any environmental damage, which is a good thing, especially since after Wabamun and Cheakamus no one is likely to put up with that from CN again, regardless of the specific circumstances.

All this just in the last day or two, just in North America. Which is to say that I shouldn’t cover every single accident here at FRN, simply because there are too many of them. I’ll cover some, but I’m not sure what the criteria will be. Mass deaths, probably. CN’s involvement, almost certainly.

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