Update: Friday, August 24th
It appears there is no obvious cause for the train derailment in Ellicott City, MD. The emergency brakes were applied, but not by the crew and this apparently was not the reason the 21 cars left the track and spilled their load in the downtown.
The two college students killed by the derailment, suffocated by the weight of the coal in the rail cars when they derailed, were not responsible in any way for the derailment.
This is the most troubling part of the accident. There is no obvious cause for the accident. No red flag pointing to remedial actions that might be implemented to prevent future accidents. Stuff seems to happen. An in the case of Parry Sound it suggests we can never really feel protected from a similar accident. With two twisting rail lines and two bridges, and forty trains a day, something is bound to happen. Let’s make sure we are prepared to minimize the damage to the town and the environment.
Original Post:There is a report of a train derailment in Maryland that has killed two people (USA Today & CBS News). The report seems a little closer to home given that the accident involved 21 rail cars of a freight train derailing off of a bridge crossing the Patapsco River in the historic area of Ellicott City. The rail cars fell overnight onto a parking lot in the town. Cranes are being used to removed the rail cars to see if there are any additional victims.
Stuff happens; let’s make sure we are properly prepared in Parry Sound for a worst case event. We can’t control what the railways do in our town. We can only control how we respond.