Wheels contributed to Brockville-area train derailment: TSB

A train derailment near Gananoque in August 2014. The TSB has concluded that problems with a wheel set on a 26 car freight train, similar to this one, caused a derailment on July 10, 2014 in the Brockville area. (Photo/OPP/File)

BROCKVILLE – The Transportation Safety Board has concluded that the poor performance of a set of train wheels caused a derailment near Brockville in July 2014.

In its investigation report released today (Thursday), the TSB said the set of wheels on an empty 80 foot centerbeam bulkhead flat car experienced excessive “track hunting” prior to the accident.

“Track hunting” is the side-to-side movement of the wheels and, when it becomes excessive, the wheels can ride up or jump over the rails, causing a derailment.

Twenty-six cars on the freight train – including 13 tanker cars carrying aviation fuel residue – jumped the tracks near Brockville on July 10, 2014.

There was some fuel leaked at the scene, however, there were no injuries.

The tankers were DOT-111 Class cars – the same ones involved in the derailment and disaster in Lac Megantic, Que.

The TSB also noted that the damage to the tanker cars was consistent with other derailments and had the “potential for catastrophic environmental impacts and loss of life.”

Investigators said the “track hunting” was also exacerbated by the type of car, the type of wheel truck, the speed of the train (which was going 60 miles an hour at the time) and bearing wear.

Since the Brockville-area derailment, the TSB has advised industry authorities of the problem.

Canadian National Railway has introduced a 45 mile per hour speed limit on the bulkhead flat cars until all the cars are upgraded.

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