August 30, 2013 10:38 am
Updated: August 30, 2013 10:43 am

Another MMA train accident waiting to happen


LAC-MÉGANTIC – Just east of Lac-Mégantic, another train run by Montreal, Maine and Atlantic railway has been sitting on the tracks at the Vachon station – around five kilometers away for the devastated town.

This second train, also owned by Montreal, Maine and Atlantic, was also at risk of rolling away.

Global News has received these new exclusive and shocking details related to the train explosion that destroyed Lac-Mégantic through the search warrant Transport Canada used to raid MMA’s head office.

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This second train had been stationed since July 5th waiting for a crew change.

On the 8th of July, just a few days after the Lac Mégantic disaster, the Sûreté du Québec asked Transport Canada to inspect the train because they were concerned about it.

Information in the warrant shows the locomotives on that second train only had 5 handbrakes on – and there were none on the rail cars.

The rules ask for a minimum of nine brakes for trains parked on a flat land.

This train was parked on a slope.

That means there should have been even more than just those nine brakes applied.

Experts we spoke to say 20 handbrakes should have been applied on those trains, but given that it would take 3 to 5 minutes per brake it would be unrealistic to have only one person do that job.

“20 handbrakes is too much to ask one person to do,” said Dan Christie, a retired CN Engineer.

“Especially at the end of a shift. Five handbrakes can’t hold a locomotive weighing 225 tonnes.”

Sections of the search warrant are blacked out, but Transport Canada alleges that MMA broke several Federal laws concerning rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods.

Global News contacted the company, but we were told they are under orders from their lawyers not to comment.

To date, MMA hasn’t been charged in connection with the July 6th derailment in Lac-Mégantic and none of the allegations found in the warrant have been proven in court.

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