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Old 07-07-2013, 04:42 AM   #1
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Default Canada train blast

Canada train blast: Lac-Megantic death toll set to rise

Police have said they expect more people to be found dead after a runaway train carrying light crude oil exploded in the Canadian town of Lac-Megantic.

The blast sent a fireball and black smoke into the air, killing one and forcing the evacuation of 1,000 people.

Dozens of buildings were destroyed in the town, about 250km (155 miles) east of Montreal.

They include a bar full of customers. Police are trying to account for dozens of missing people.

The train's cars reportedly uncoupled from a parked engine and derailed early on Saturday.

Rail company officials said the train had been immobilised in a neighbouring village before a scheduled crew change, but for an unknown reason had then started rolling downhill into Lac-Megantic.

Eyewitnesses said that by the time the driverless train reached the town it was travelling at considerable speed.

'Like a movie'

The search for more bodies is expected to continue at dawn.

Local media have reported up to 100 people missing.

"We have already confirmed one death and we expect there will be others," said police spokesman Guy Lapointe.

"We also expect that the number of people reported missing will be greater than the final death toll."

He said some people had been reported missing several times by different family members.

Some 120 firefighters have been fighting the blaze, which has continued for more than 24 hours.

Firefighters from across the border in the US are assisting.

Eyewitnesses reported that the town centre - where there are a number of bars - was crowded at the time of the blast, and that "chaos" ensued.

Bernard Theberge, who was on the patio of the Musi-Cafe at the time, said he was lucky to escape and feared for those inside the bar.

"It was like a movie," he said, quoted by the Associated Press news agency. "Explosions as if it were scripted - but this was live."

A woman described how close she was to one of the wagons.

"There were some sparks, and the car lifted and came to lie on its side in front of me, but I turned around and ran without stopping," she told the CBC TV.

Brakes 'tight'

The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic train had five locomotive engines and 73 cars filled with light crude oil, and was parked in the village of Nantes - about 7km (four miles) from Lac-Megantic - during an overnight driver shift-change, a company spokesman told Canada's La Presse newspaper.

The railway's chairman, Edward Burhardt, quoted by CBC, said an engineer had parked the train and put the brakes on "properly" before going to a local hotel for the night.

The cars filled with fuel somehow became uncoupled, causing them to roll downhill into the town and derail, said the spokesman, Joe McGonigle.

"It seems that the brakes were tight on locomotives," Mr McGonigle told La Presse. "We found the locomotives higher up, half a mile (800m) away."

Some of the cars exploded, creating a massive fireball and setting fire to nearby homes and businesses.

A one-kilometre exclusion zone was set up amid fears of more pressurised containers exploding.

"When you see the centre of your town almost destroyed, you'll understand that we're asking ourselves how we are going to get through this event," an emotional Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche told a televised news briefing.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those affected by this morning's tragic train derailment and subsequent fires in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

Some of the train's cargo spilled into the nearby Chaudiere river, said Environment Quebec spokesman Christian Blanchette, adding that communities downstream of Lac-Megantic had been warned to take care if using river water.

A mobile laboratory had been set up to monitor the quality of the air, he added.

The train was carrying the crude oil from the Bakken Field in North Dakota. Montreal, Maine & Atlantic owns more than 800km (500 miles) of track serving Maine, Vermont, Quebec and New Brunswick.

A lakeside town that is home to some 6,000 people, Lac-Megantic is close to the US border with Vermont and 210 km (130 miles) north of Maine's capital, Augusta.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:47 AM   #2
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: Canada train blast

Damn that is terrible thoughts are with them.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Canada train blast

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slate...ises_to_5.html

Oil tanker cars are still burning Sunday after a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in the eastern Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic on Saturday, about 10 miles west of the Maine border. The blasts and ensuing fires have forced as many as 2,000 people to evacuate and prevented responders from reaching the hardest-hit areas. Police confirmed the deaths of five people along with dozens still missing on Sunday. Those numbers will likely fluctuate as rescue efforts continue.
Officials are still investigating the accident, though the CBC reports the derailment may have been caused by a runaway train. The train was parked uphill of the town center, but then sped downhill and derailed:

The president and CEO of Rail World Inc., the parent company of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, said the train was parked uphill of Lac-Mégantic before the incident.
"If brakes aren't properly applied on a train, it's going to run away," Edward Burkhardt told The Canadian Press. "But we think the brakes were properly applied on this train."
The accident may renew concerns about transporting oil by rail. The AP provides some background:

Because of limited pipeline capacity in North Dakota's Bakken region and in Canada, oil producers are using railroads to transport much of the oil to refineries on the East, Gulf and West coasts, as well as inland. [Canadian Prime Minister Stephen] Harper has called railroad transit "far more environmentally challenging" while trying to persuade the Obama administration to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: Canada train blast

I thought crude oil was perfectly safe to transport
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Canada train blast

Time to build that pipeline..




...

Sometime after (the first conductor left), the train got loose," said McGonigle, who is vice-president of marketing for The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway. "It travelled under its own inertia to the centre of the town."

The locomotive portion of the 73-car train actually detached half a mile outside of the small town, he added, but the cars carrying the oil kept on rolling. McGonigle said there are security mechanisms in place to prevent anyone from tampering with the train, and the proper checks were done by the conductor before he left the vehicle. No one except him or another employee of the company should have been able to set it in motion.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/...646/story.html
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: Canada train blast

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonM229 View Post
I thought crude oil was perfectly safe to transport
Not really - but pipelines are safer - since solar and wind are not going to be the exclusive sources of energy the oil needs to be transported somehow

A train disaster that killed five people in Quebec promises to touch off debate over the safety of shipping crude oil by rail or pipelines such as TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL. ...

Transporting crude oil by rail results in almost three times the number of spills compared with pipelines, according to the Washington-based Association of American Railroads. ...

Railroads and pipelines both deliver more than 99 percent of products without incident. U.S. pipelines carried 474.6 billion gallons of crude and petroleum products in 2012 and reported 2.3 million gallons spilled, an effective rate of 0.0005 percent, according to the Association of Oil Pipelines.

Over the entire decade ending with 2012, railroads hauled 11.2 billion gallons of crude with 95,256 gallons spilled, the majority from just one 2008 accident in Oklahoma that accounted for 81,103 gallons, according to the rail association.


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0...te-on-oil.html
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Canada train blast

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Originally Posted by Killer View Post
Time to build that pipeline..
OMG - we agree on something
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:58 AM   #9
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I thought crude oil was perfectly safe to transport
The train brakes should work.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:13 AM   #10
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Default Re: Canada train blast

probably sabotaged by anti-oil pipeline terrorists who wanted to make headlines from a spill


what we know, timeline of disaster..

Friday, 11:25 p.m.: An engineer from the Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway ties down a train carrying 72 tankers filled with crude oil and five locomotive units in Nantes, approximately 11 kilometres outsides of Lac Mégantic. According to the MMA he had stopped for a crew change and then retired to a nearby motel for the evening.

11:30 p.m.: A citizen in Nantes calls 911 after seeing a parked locomotive on fire between Nantes and Lac Mégantic. Firefighters arrive on the scene and are able to extinguish the blaze.

Saturday, 1:15 a.m.: The first explosion in Lac Megantic is reported, followed by at least two others. Initial reports suggest 30 buildings are destroyed. Much of downtown is flooded with crude oil and fire. Patrons of a crowded bar flee. Many remain unaccounted for.

1:15 a.m. to 4 a.m.: Explosions continue to rock the town as cars containing oil ignite.
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