Train Derailment Results in Significant Environmental Fines

On July 6, 2013, 74 unattended freight train cars carrying Bakken Formation crude oil rolled down a 1.2% grade from the town of Nantes and into the downtown area of the Town of Lac-Mégantic. The ensuing derailment resulted in a fire and explosion of multiple tank cars. The devastation was far reaching and resulted in forty-two people being confirmed dead, with five more missing or presumed dead. Approximately 30 buildings, representing almost half of the Town’s centre were destroyed with more buildings needing to be demolished as a result of the petroleum hydrocarbon contamination. According to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s report the train was carrying approximately 7.7 million litres of petroleum crude oil in 72 Class 111 tank cars. The train engineer parked the train on a descending grade on the main track, applied the hand brakes on all five locomotives and shut down all but the lead locomotive. The applicable rules require hand brakes…

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