CN blamed for fatal train derailment |
February 15th 2012
NTSB: Canadian National
failed to warn train before derailment...
largest freight railway operator is being blamed for a fiery 2009
train derailment in the United States that killed one person and
injured seven others.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board released a report
Tuesday that determined Canadian National Railway acted too slowly
to warn an oncoming train of a track washout in Cherry Valley, Ill.,
resulting in the fatal crash. Several of the train's cars went off
the tracks and caught fire.
The NTSB report found that the
was discovered about an hour before the train's arrival, but CN's
"inadequate emergency communication procedures prevented timely
"There were missteps and miscommunications, procedures not followed
and poor decisions," NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a
release. "There were multiple points where this catastrophe could
have been averted, but it was not."
On June 19, 2009, an eastbound CN freight train consisting of two
and 114 cars derailed at a highway/rail grade crossing in Cherry
Valley, Ill., the report says. Nineteen of the cars derailed, all of
which were tank cars carrying ethanol, a flammable liquid. Thirteen
of the derailed cars were breached or lost product and caught fire.
At time of the incident, several vehicles were stopped on either
side of the crossing waiting for the train to pass. As a result of
the fire that erupted after the derailment, a passenger in one of
the vehicles was fatally injured, the report says.
Two passengers in the same car received serious injuries, and five
occupants of the other cars waiting at the crossing were injured.
also suffered minor injuries battling the blaze.
The resulting fire prompted a mandatory evacuation of about 600
homes near the accident site.
The report also found that CN's "failure to work with Winnebago
County to develop a comprehensive storm water management design to
address previous washouts in 2006 and 2007" contributed to the
The NTSB report also pointed to the inadequate design of the tank
cars, which made the cars subject to damage and catastrophic loss of
hazardous materials during the derailment.
The NTSB recommended that CN implement a program to test its
internal emergency communication system and ensure that personnel
are familiar with its system's operation It also recommended CN put
in place a process to ensure accuracy and visibility of emergency
contact information at all highway-rail grade crossings on its rail