Emergency braking led to fiery Canada rail accident, investigators say

Reuters

TORONTO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Emergency braking was behind thederailment of a train hauling propane and crude oil early onSaturday, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said onTuesday.

In its first assessment of the accident, the TSB said thewestbound Canadian National Railway mixed freight trainhad an "undesired emergency brake application" in Gainford,Alberta and 13 cars carrying dangerous goods derailed.

The explosion and fire that followed forced some 100 peoplefrom their homes.

The first four of the derailed cars carried crude oil, whichdid not catch fire, and the other nine contained liquefiedpetroleum gas, or propane, some of which caught fire after anexplosion.

"Sparks and flames were visible to the crew. No injurieswere reported," said the report from investigator JamesCarmichael.

The accident again focused attention on the safety of thetransportation of hazardous material by rail. This summer, atrain hauling crude oil derailed and exploded in the Quebec townof Lac-Megantic, killing 47 people in North America's deadliestrail accident in two decades.

The TSB report () did notexplain how or why the emergency brakes were activated on the134-car train. CN Railway, Canada's largest rail operator, wasnot immediately available for comment.

The accident closed CN's main line linking Alberta with thePacific coast, with likely delays to some shipments.

CN reports its quarterly results after the market closes onTuesday. Analysts mostly expect modest gains from year agoprofit levels.

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