Yard Air Connections

Discussion in 'Right of Way' started by geep07, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Andre, I'm sure it's not used in today's time, back a way's it was. I don't know what rail lines do today. Rules, as you know are continuously changing. Most of my experience, is from the 70's thru the early 90's. KCS, will do anything and so will short lines. Ha Ha, as I'm sure you know.
    The FRA, got more into it, after Helena, Montana's incident involving a bottling issue where the train run away. That was on a steep grade I think in the late 80's right in the middle of town. I don't know the details, but the issue in Canada where the oil cars got away, really charged the issue. Besides all that, how well did my memory work ?
    modeltruckshop likes this.
  2. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    The way I saw it was:

    Bottling air is (was as I'm now retired) against the rules... and a very present help in a time of need.


    William Jackson likes this.
  3. The Canada thing was that the only operating locomotive in the consist was shut down by firefighters after responding to a fire on the unit. The railroad was running trains with a crew of one. The lone engineer crew member had gone to the hotel for the night after leaving the train unattended and supposedly secured in Nantes, Quebec. No one was at the train to direct firefighters. Not enough hand brakes had been set as per the rules before the crew member retired to the hotel for the evening. The train of oil tank cars, now sitting unattended again since the now shutdown locomotive issue was resolved and the emergency responders had departed, was at the top of the
    grade heading down and toward the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec. It began rolling downgrade on its own after a period of time when the air bled off and the brakes released. The train was then an out of control runaway downhill into Lac-Megantic. The curve thru town had a 10 mph speed restriction. The train was estimated to be moving at 65 mph when it entered the 10 mph curve in the downtown area of Lac-Megantic. Most of the oil tank cars of course derailed and in the ensuing fire that resulted 47 people were incinerated and many others injured in the conflagaration. Quite the disaster. The oil that didnt burn spread out, soaked into the soil contaminating the ground, and some of the town structures that had not been burned and destroyed initially. Many structures later had to be demolished as a result and the soil remediated and water courses cleaned. The railroad declared bankruptcy and then went out of business as a result of the negligence involved and insurance issues. Needless to say but i am quite sure the community of Lac-Megantic and relatives of the victims are not real railroad friendly. The new company which took over the operation after the demise of the old company is much more safety conscious and not (and hopefully not ever) running trains with a 1 man crew. While not having been a railroad man, I still cannot fathom how a 1 man train crew is anything but unsafe, as the people of Lac-Megantic would agree upon as well, and another potential disaster waiting to happen yet again. It may have been financially and economically beneficial to the company, prior to the accident as such.
    A train with a high volume of hazardous class 3 flammable liquid petroleum crude oil, left unattended on the mainline at the head of a 1.2% downgrade, with 4 of the 5 locomotives shutdown, locomotive cab unlocked and accessible no less ? While the aforementioned was not against Canada Transport rules at that time, still never ever should have happened ! Lesson learned hopefully.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  4. The runaway train skyrocketed down the 1.2 % grade for 6.8 miles, passing railroad crossings unlighted and sounding no warnings, as the 5 locomotive were dead and unmanned from Nantes into Lac-Megantic, Quebec. There were 72 cars with 30,000 gallons of flammable crude oil in each car in the train for 2,160,000 gallons total. 63 of the 72 cars derailed and ruptured upon hitting the 10 mph curve at 65 mph with ensuing explosions and fire beginning at 1:14 am EDT on July 6th, 2013. The 5 locomotives incredibly stayed on the track thru the curve rolling at least 800 feet until stopping and the last 9 tank cars of the train stayed on track as well and were pulled back away from the disaster. 2000 town folk were evacuated by that afternoon. Fires burned for nearly 20 hours before finally being extinguished by hundreds of firefighters and their equipment, some of them coming from the U.S. side to aid their Canadian counterparts. 115 businesses destroyed. 30 structures immediately destroyed and 36 of 39 other structures were later torn down. A Major ecological disaster and the deadliest in death toll of any Canadian railroad accident since 1864. 42 killed. 5 missing and presumed dead with no trace of them ever being located. Shameful and inexcusable.

    I was at Loring AFB in Maine at one point during my 22 year US Air Force career (I retired from active duty in October 2001) and the railroad involved in this accident had taken over operation on part of the old Bangor and Aroostook railroad line in Maine in 2003, long after my stay there was over, as well as operating the former section of the Canadian Pacific line where the accident took place. The northern Maine woods are beautiful (and the winters somewhat brutal) as most certainly are the Canadian province areas around the Lac-Megantic area. I never visited there specifically but the residents didnt deserve and should have not had to endure and suffer such a terrible disaster as a result of a comedy of errors and ignorance of safety procedures and rules. The current railroad is working with the town to better the relationship with them and eventual plans are for the rails, as per desire by the town and its residents, to be relocated around and outside of the town area. I whole heartedly support that in light of what happened there 6 years ago and what has been recorded in history for posterity.

    The BAR once served the now closed "Boring Loring" airbase and I became and am a big fan of the former BAR as i was able to experience it up close and personal first hand while i was there. And so with all that being said thats all i have to say about that. Thank you.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
    William Jackson likes this.
  5. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Well. That was unnecessary.
  6. RogerRT

    RogerRT Staff Member Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Yard air only pumps up the trainline to a certain amount but not enough to release the brakes...Just enough above what the Fed's consider minimally charged, you have to cut the engines away & dump the air before hooking up the yard air which pumps it up to, for example 50lbs....You don't use yard air on heavy grades or else you get what they had in Canada...Roger
    William Jackson likes this.
  7. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Unfortunatly, Short Lines will do almost anything and I didn't agree but they will.
  8. wpmoreland719

    wpmoreland719 Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Bottling the air is permissible only to runaround cars and couple in to the opposite end, or open the angle cock. Leaving cars unattended with the air bottled is not. Air must be vented to atmosphere first to initiate an emergency application, then the locomotive must proceed directly to the other end of the cut to either couple in to the cars or a crew member to open the angle cock.

    Pat Moreland,
    Wesco, Missouri
    Ozarktraveler likes this.

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