2 train Collision at Casselton ND

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2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:39 pm

There's a report on the CBS News stream(radio) and CNN that 2 trains have crashed near Casselton ND,1 of the trains was reported to be
a crude oil unit train,no reported injuries as of last report,temps in the -20 degree range making it hard for fire fighters to control.
At least 1(or more) tank cars has exploded,Amtrak's Empire Builder (#7/#8) will be affected by this wreck.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby Shalom » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:13 pm

Reuters is now reporting that it was a westbound soybean train that derailed, and an eastbound oil train hit it. 10 cars reported engulfed. Both locomotives on the oil train destroyed.

link to Reuters article
link to Valley News article
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:29 pm

The most pertinent Brief Passage from the linked Reuters article has got to be this:

    The incident threatens to stoke concerns about the safety of carrying increasing volumes of crude oil by rail, a trend that emerged from the unexpected burst of shale oil production out of North Dakota's Bakken fields. Over two-thirds of the state's oil production is currently shipped by rail
From reviewing the article, it further appears that Positive Train Control could have avoided this incident - so here comes that devil to haunt the industry. On PTC, it's no longer whether, but when.

Considering Megantic as well as this incident and how volatile crude can be - outside temperature notwithstanding, look for the FRA to start telling all railroads how to handle crude. While HAZMAT 1267 may represent crude as a whole, this is now the second incident involving Bakken Crude as a more volatile commodity than normal. Look for indemnity costs to dramatically escalate be they insurance premiums, reserves for casualties, or some combination thereof.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:34 pm

The Cass County sheriff(via CNN) that 60 cars of the 104 car unit crude oil train have been pulled away to safety
Local fire fighters are letting the remaining cars burn,now up to 10 cars are burning/ have exploded.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby cobra30689 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:26 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:From reviewing the article, it further appears that Positive Train Control could have avoided this incident - so here comes that devil to haunt the industry. On PTC, it's no longer whether, but when.



I question that....slightly. If the soybean cars were shunting the rails, absolutely. Or at the very least without PTC, and conventional CSS, a sudden cab drop. But what if they weren't? And the oil train simply whacked a shifted car before it could come to a stop? Lets say the dispatcher under PTC could drop the signals on an opposing train (I don't know if this will be possible); that would have required an emergency radio transmission from the soybean train....and adherence by all in the area to specific rules that follow such to prevent this type of thing from happening. If the timing was such that it was unavoidable under present signaling, rules and communications protocol, I'm not entirely sure PTC would have made much difference. It will certainly be an interesting investigation.....just glad no one was hurt.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby 25Hz » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:50 pm

Wondering if the crews escaped to safety........

And wow, time to re-think tank car design maybe?
Next stop the square, journal square station next!
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby sandyriverman » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:52 pm

http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll24 ... eae7f3.jpg

In this image made from a video provided by Darrin Rademacher, a fireball goes up at the site of an oil train derailment Monday, Dec 30, 2013, in Casselton, N.D. The train carrying crude oil derailed near Casselton Monday afternoon. Several explosions were reported as some cars on the mile-long train caught fire. Photo: Darrin Rademacher, AP

......."The derailment happened amid increased concerns about the United States' increased reliance on rail to carry crude oil. Fears of catastrophic derailments were particularly stoked after last summer's crash in Canada of a train carrying crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken oil patch. Forty-seven people died in the ensuing fire.........The tracks that the train was on Monday pass through the middle of Casselton, and Morris said it was "a blessing it didn't happen within the city.".........The train had more than 100 cars, and about 80 of them were moved away from the site".......

........"Terry Johnson, the manager of a grain dealer less than a mile from the derailment, said he heard at least six explosions in the two hours following the incident.........Each one, you could hear the explosion," he said. "It shook our building and there was a huge fireball.........

......"North Dakota is the No. 2 oil-producing state in the U.S., trailing only Texas, and a growing amount of that oil is being shipped by rail. The state's top oil regulator said earlier this month that he expected as much as 90 percent of North Dakota's oil would be carried by train in 2014, up from the current 60 percent".......

It is a good thing that this happened out in the middle of nowhere, so to speak, where it will just be left to burn itself out without too much collateral damage.

More bad press for those who wish to profit from the shipping of oil. The only alternative is pipelines and our POTUS and all the enviros in the world don't really want to see that.

SRM
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:23 pm

From the photo,BNSF has been upgrading the track and signal systems on the "KO" sub to handle the traffic,while the cause
of what created this collision is still unknown,lets leave that to the NTSB to investagate for now.
BNSF still has installed on the former ATSF lines,the ATS system used by Amtrak,the only known Cab Signaled main line is
the Chicago sub to Aurora for Metra commuter services.
Casselton is 15 miles west of Fargo ND,is a 2 track main line with CTC signal control
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby CN9634 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:01 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:The most pertinent Brief Passage from the linked Reuters article has got to be this:

    The incident threatens to stoke concerns about the safety of carrying increasing volumes of crude oil by rail, a trend that emerged from the unexpected burst of shale oil production out of North Dakota's Bakken fields. Over two-thirds of the state's oil production is currently shipped by rail
From reviewing the article, it further appears that Positive Train Control could have avoided this incident - so here comes that devil to haunt the industry. On PTC, it's no longer whether, but when.

Considering Megantic as well as this incident and how volatile crude can be - outside temperature notwithstanding, look for the FRA to start telling all railroads how to handle crude. While HAZMAT 1267 may represent crude as a whole, this is now the second incident involving Bakken Crude as a more volatile commodity than normal. Look for indemnity costs to dramatically escalate be they insurance premiums, reserves for casualties, or some combination thereof.


Well... there are some issues with PTC. Firstly, with train blocks and emergency systems in place, if a train derails, it wont take long for dispatchers to know. Further, the crew will know as well and signal the dispatcher who will stop traffic. Details are still lacking in this case, but it is possible that one derailment occured while the trains were in close proximity or even during a meet. For this speculation, we will have to wait, but PTC doesn't guarantee this accident would not have happened if one train derails close to or while passing the other. Lastly, who is going to pay for PTC across the NA rail system?

I think the problem is the crude oil product itself. For some reason, it likes to blow up more than most other known crudes. To continue to haul this stuff, something is going to have to be changed with the product to make it less explosive or more stabile. This would no doubt come at a cost that would make it less competitive with other types of crude oil, but something will have to change with the product, not just the method of transportation. I imagine there will be pressure on new tank car regulations and reform (no pun intended).
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby tv737 » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:26 am

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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby JackRussell » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:50 am

The Fargo Forum had a set of reader submitted photos of the accident, which were taken from the air:

http://inforum.mycapture.com/mycapture/ ... ryID=78068

There was also a story that came up last night:

http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/422367/

where they evacuated the town of Casselton due to a shift in the winds.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:16 am

sandyriverman wrote:More bad press for those who wish to profit from the shipping of oil. The only alternative is pipelines and our POTUS and all the enviros in the world don't really want to see that.

SRM

Mr. Sandy, I am disappointed to note your captioned thought.

I have carefully followed your insightful postings regarding Megantic; unless there is a pertinent thought I have overlooked, this represents a position you have not taken in those discussions. It is of course troubling, and even though no injuries have yet been reported, that this incident occurred on well maintained trackage (ex-NP; route of the North Coast Limited, I think) of a premier Class I road. This of course is in distinct contrast to Megantic, which occurred on a Class II which it would appear had a corporate culture of 'if there is a corner to cut, find it' coupled with a 'lottery winning' mentality common to many winners who have had no training whatever in managing large sums of money.

While of course, just like Megantic, it is incumbent for all here to await the findings of the NTSB regarding this incident, I would hope that any thrust will be to make rail transport of petroleum products safe so that any proposal to build additional pipelines will be laid to rest. There can be no alternative; for the continued renaissance of this industry, whose affairs I have followed for now over sixty years, is vitally dependent upon continued rail shipment of crude.

Finally, I hope you will agree that I have taken great care to present these contrary thoughts in a mature and respectful manner; you deserve nothing less.

disclaimer: author holds long positions CSX, KSU, UNP; previously held same BNI
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby sandyriverman » Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:31 am

Mr Norman, Your points are valid. Unfortunately I wrote that in a bit of a hurry and did not really check my wording very well. Let me try again by making several points.

1) I am a long time advocate of railroad transportation in North America, nearly 60 yrs in fact. I have stated many many times that there is no question that railroads are the most efficient means, both in fuel economy as well as manpower, of moving people and goods around the continent. As recent events are showing only too well, the public's ability to adequately maintain the interstate highway system is falling behind, as traffic has increased. This has had the effect of placing an almost "untenable burden" upon the taxpayer, required to maitain the "public road network"!

2) Despite any/all accidents involving the movement of crude oil by rail, this rapidly increasing business has become a blessing to much of the nations railroad companies. I have cheered that "blessing" as much as anyone, and have been greatly pleased to see the many of the railroad companies being able to invest more and more $$$ into an infrastructure that has been, for the most part, woefully maintained for many decades! Increasing business brings increasing profits, and that is a very good thing. The future of our nation may well likely become more vested in the railroads again, as the efficiences of that kind of operation become more evident! There are "rapidly increasing profits" in the movement of crude oil, no question about it.

3) As I have journeyed through life I have become more aware of the fact that there are basically two kinds of people around. We can be separated into "conservative vs liberal" to quite an extent. Forgive me for raising what sounds like a political argument, when my real intent is to point out some facts of human nature. Some people think in very firm ways about things, involving factual analysis of the circumstances, and eventually arriving at concluions that can be defended with logic. I am one of them, usually looking at all the angles and trying to rationalize answers.

Others think with their "emotions" as in "if it feels good, it must be good". I am a lifelong resident of Maine where the paper making industry reined supreme for a century or more. Unfortunately this polluted many of the rivers, badly, and it took a long time to clean much of that up, which I think was a good thing! This earlier environmental movement spawned a later version that rather than analyzing things with factual analysis, most of the time runs on "raw emotions"! Nothing "stokes" those raw emotions quicker than dark black smoke rising into the air.......and a body count, as in Lac Megantic. Like it or not, these events have driven millions of us, with little factual basis, at this point in time, to develop a "hatred" for any and all things that have to do with railroads and crude oil! Keep foremost in your mind that the main stream media makes most of its profits by doing all that it can to "stoke these kinds of emotions"!

4) Suffice it to say that I believe that the use of fossil fuels, particularly oil, is not going away any time soon! This discovery in ND, that I have seen termed the "greatest discovery in the history of N America" is literally a godsend for our nation, to the extent it can relieve much of our dependency upon middle eastern oil providers, and their ability to take our money and fund terrible acts against our nation and it's people!

5) I think the facts will easily show that the most efficient way to move crude oil over long distances is with pipelines, and my studying has shown that there is a better safety record with the pipelines. Unfortunately much of our political leadership is vehemently outspoken in their arguments against building ANY of these pipelines. Again, a perfect example of the thinking of some people......that is totally bereft of logical analysis! We can legislate the safest possible tank car designs, railroad track specifications and operating regulations but we can NOT control human nature, or sometimes things that are just simply the "luck of the draw". Remember that it has been bitterly cold in ND for several weeks now, and steel rails can break anytime, something that is made much more likely with low temps for days on end! I suspect that our nation may eventually come to accept the need to build more pipelines for this movement of crude oil, but none of that will happen very soon, thus there is huge incentive to move this crude oil, the only way we have to this point to move most of it from ND and that is by railroad tankcars on steel rails!

6) If business can justify doing something in a certain way, the incentive to continue doing so will be very high as those companies seeking to enhance their bottom line, look to every way they can find to do so. Some, like MMA (maybe) have sought to cut all the corners they could, even though reasonable people, with vast amounts of experience, could see things that were inherently "risky" by doing so!

7) Media sources have stated that this ND crude is as "volatile as gasoline" but that statement is crazy as it would not need the refining process if it was as they say. I have found, from reading, that this crude is somewhat lighter than most crude previously discovered. This would lead to increasing "volatility" for sure, but still not becoming the same as gasoline IMHO. It seems that new ways will have to be found to deal with the product, as best as we can, as the movement of oil by rail will continue in my way of thinking, and nobody can guarantee that this will be 'accident free".

Those who decry this fiery spectacle in N Dakota, and the death toll at Lac Megantic need to take some of this into proper perspective and rate the risk factors accordingly. In 2010 32,885 people died on the roads in America. The math works out to slightly over 90 people killed each day on the nations highways. Lets put this in perspective. Any accident where anyone is inured or killed is a tragedy, for the families, and for all of us. Nobody should die that way, but death by accident has always been with us, and always will be. There are, on average, 90 people killed every single day on the roads, twice as many who died at lac Megantic, yet nobody is advocating for bans on moving people by car on roads, that I am aware of.

We are all human, and subject to mistakes, all of us at any given moment. As long as people try to do things, accidents and deaths will continue and, by themelves are not sufficient reason for stopping what we are doing. Trying to make it safer, YES, but sitting down in a corner and doing nothing makes no sense if we wish to continue to be a viable nation and economy.

SRM
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby NRGeep » Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:35 pm

Hydrogen sulfide used in the fracking process in Bakken could be a factor in the flammable nature of the crude in this accident and the tragedy in Quebec.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby CN9634 » Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:41 pm

Fishrrman wrote:I read through the postings in this thread and have seen next-to-nothing about the particulars of the derailment, such as:
- Is this single or double-track territory?
- If single-track, did it happen as the result of a collision of two trains at a control point?
- Or (as I read somewhere else), was it double-track, and the result of one train derailing and fouling the other?

I read somewhere else this morning (sorry, can't remember where) that the two trains were passing, that the grain train derailed, and the oil train then hit the derailed cars.


It is double track. You can google map Casselton, ND.

Take a look at a statement from BNSF: http://bnsf.com/media/casselton/

It sounds like one train derailed into another while they were meeting, but that is unconfirmed.
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