Greenwich Meridian
August 13, 2013

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By Andrea

The Canadian Pacific Railway alternation that derailed, leaked awkward oil and afire a ample blaze in rural Saskatchewan on Thursday was application new, industry-standard catchbasin cars meant to be added puncture-resistant than their predecessors, the ones that exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Que., in 2013.

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Both CP and ConocoPhillips, which endemic the bitumen on board, accepted the alternation was fabricated up of TC-117J cars endorsed by Canadian regulators in 2016.

“The 117Js are anew built,” a ConocoPhillips agent said. “[They] accommodated or beat the accepted appropriate for awkward transportation.” 

Footage from Thursday’s blast site, west of the baby apple of Guernsey, Sask., about 100 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon, shows ample puddles of atramentous carrion staining the prairie arena abutting to the alternation clue that runs alongside to Highway 16. 

The Busline Assurance Lath of Canada (TSB) is investigating the early-morning crash but has not yet appear an appraisal of the bulk of oil spilled. Nobody was afflicted and there was no appulse to waterways, according to CP Rail. 

By 9 p.m. CST Friday — added than 36 hours afterwards the alternation jumped the tracks — the fires were independent and the abuse line’s Sutherland subdivision was reopened to traffic. 

According to CP, 32 of the train’s catchbasin cars had derailed.

Matt Smith/The Canadian Press

That’s aloof one car abbreviate of the 33 that batty in a abstracted CP-Conoco awkward oil alternation derailment in aboriginal December on the added ancillary of Guernsey. 

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Approximately 1.5 actor litres of oil leaked out of the train’s tanks in that crash. That’s added than six times the bulk of artefact that caked into the North Saskatchewan River from a Husky Energy activity aperture in July 2016. 

Enhanced features

The alternation that batty in December used a mix of jacketed TC-117R cars and CPC-1232 cars, which are not absolutely the aforementioned as the new TC-117J tanks complex in Thursday’s derailment. 

TC-117R cars are earlier cars retrofitted to accommodated the aforementioned standards as the cast new TC-117Js accustomed by Transport Canada in the years afterward the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster. In that tragedy, an unmanned crude-carrying alternation batty and exploded in the town’s core, killing 47 people.  

CPC-1232 cars are industry-sponsored and meant to be safer than the DOT-111 catchbasin cars complex in Lac-Mégantic, according to the U.S. Agency of Abuse Statistics.

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The shells on retrofitted 117R cars are hardly thinner than those on new 117 cars, according to Ian Naish, a above administrator of abuse investigations for the TSB — as are the shells on jacketed CPC-1232s, according to the bureau.

In the deathwatch of Lac-Mégantic, Transport Canada alleged for the new TC-117 abuse cars to become the new accepted for alteration combustible liquids. The cars affection several added assurance features, including:

Story continues

Still, alike with new TC-117 catchbasin cars in use Thursday, “again the catchbasin cars don’t assume to be able to accommodate annihilation and they do accumulation up and there’s big releases,” Naish said. 

“It does accession the catechism of how abundant bigger they accomplish in derailments than the added catchbasin cars. Is there absolutely abundant aberration at college speeds?”

The acceleration question

Naish wonders at what best acceleration the new 117 cars can survive a derailment afterwards a aperture or austere leak.

It’s not accepted how fast the alternation was activity Thursday afore it crashed; the TSB has yet to affair its aboriginal accounting amend on the investigation. But the TSB has ahead appear the best acceleration on that allotment of the band was 72 km/h. 

Hours afterwards Thursday’s derailment, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau ordered that all trains with 20 or added cars accustomed alarming appurtenances charge apathetic bottomward their speeds for the abutting month. 

For the Sutherland subdivision, Garneau’s charge agency a acceleration abridgement of about 50 per cent. 

Garneau’s country-wide adjustment is already accepted to accept broader impacts, such as best delay times for car drivers at alternation intersections. 

More accomplish may be taken, Garneau said. 

“I accept asked my admiral to appraise all issues accompanying to these accidents to actuate if added assurance measures will be required.”

ConocoPhillips said Friday it was carefully ecology the situation. 

“The assurance of the association and the aegis of the ambiance is our primary concern,” the aggregation said.

Thursday’s derailment re-stoked the political agitation on trains vs. pipelines for alteration crude.

It additionally able the achievability that such a ablaze derailment could appear in a ample citizenry centre. 

“We are acquainted that any derailment raises apropos for our citizens,” Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark tweeted on Thursday. 

Pamela Goulden-McLeod, the administrator of emergency administration for the Saskatoon Blaze Department, said the burghal has acknowledgment affairs in abode for a abeyant “derailment emergency” aural burghal limits. 

“We’ve planned and collaborated with abounding agencies, including abuse companies, for such an event,” she said. 

The Burghal of Saskatoon has additionally bidding a desire to accept abuse curve confused alfresco of the city. An amend on that accomplishment is accepted some time this year.

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