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Canadian Railroads > TSB questions train brakes & testing


Date: 05/13/20 03:58
TSB questions train brakes & testing
Author: hoggerdoug




Date: 05/13/20 11:30
Re: TSB questions train brakes & testing
Author: Lackawanna484

Thanks for that link. It certainly raises a lot of questions.  If a high percentage of brakes are not functioning as intended, the train is not ready for service.

Regardless of what the test A suggests.



Date: 05/13/20 11:56
Re: TSB questions train brakes & testing
Author: eminence_grise

This train was put together at Red Deer AB., from cars collected on various lines in central Alberta. It would have received a Number 1A brake test there, performed by the train crew.Like the Number 1 test, it involves a train crew member walking the train and observing brake cylinders and shoes and looking for obvious defects. How much the train was reconfigured at Calgary has not been disclosed. I'm thinking that was where the DPU remotes were placed in the train.

A Number 1 test is one performed by car department employees. One was performed at Calgary on this train. The carmen walk the train and perform a visual inspection, and will "bad order" any cars with obvious faults. Such cars are switched out and repaired. 

However, some faults are not visible even to the expert eye on a walking inspection.

A few more details about the actions of the incoming crew have been released.  It has been disclosed that the crew had reported braking difficulties to the RTC (dispatcher) while en route from Calgary and that they applied the air brakes in emergency to stop at Partridge.

Perhaps more important is the fact that a significant number of the fleet of grain cars in service in Canada were found  to have defective air brakes with faults not apparent on a visual check by qualified employees.

Over the years, the railways have lobbied for fewer train inspections, and have been granted permission to perform fewer inspections.
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/20 21:37 by eminence_grise.



Date: 05/13/20 13:13
Re: TSB questions train brakes & testing
Author: ironmtn

Thanks also for the link to the article. Important stuff.

So, if the current regime of brake application with inspection is not sufficient, what would be? I'm no air brake expert, so I'll let others answer. Just some SWAG's as a fan (any or all of which may be totally ridiculous and/or impractical - fire away): Is it more regular detailed inspection of each car's braking system, with more regular certification and stenciling on the car? A hard pull test on the train after an application (if that can be done without taking a knuckle or drawbar)? A "squeeze" with the DPU (if equipped) pushing after an application, and the lead power resisting in dynamics (if that's even possible). Again, just hypothesizing. I may well be totally off base.

I understand Transport Canada's concern. But the testing has to be operationally and economically feasible. Are they thinking electronic braking? That would be a very huge unfunded mandate. I don't know how those things roll in Canada, but here in the States, PTC has already been that for the roads here. And the invoice has really big numbers.

I don't mean to be disparaging. Nothing is more critical than the ability to stop safely, and not least for the safety and lives of the crew. The accident was a truly scary one, one of the worst, and must have been seared into the consciousness of every railroader in Canada after it occurred. But solutions have to be practical. Being south of the border, I know relatively little about Transport Canada and mean no disrespect. I'm sure they are very capable, skilled people. But down here, when regulators start making statements about increased [fill in the term], one can get a little nervous, and vigilant. Sometimes with good reason.

MC
Muskegon, Michigan



Date: 05/13/20 14:47
Re: TSB questions train brakes & testing
Author: PHall

From what I got from the link. The current test just checks to see if the brakes apply and release and that the air leakage is within the allowed limits.
Nothing to tell you how much braking effort is being generated by each car. Of course how would you test for that?
And that's the big question. How would you design a test, that can be conducted in the field, that would tell you just how effective the brakes on each car are working.
Is there even a way for the carmen on the RIP track to test the braking system on a car to determine how much braking force is being developed by a car?
Sounds like the thermal camera is about they only way to know right now.



Date: 05/13/20 15:10
Re: TSB questions train brakes & testing
Author: eminence_grise

TSB investigators had a way to determine the lack of braking capacity on cars they examined. I'm not sure what technology was used to find that out.

I agree, perhaps the current brake tests need to be revised.

Since the incident, many of the Canadian Government owned cars have been sold and sometimes scrapped.

With certain components like roller bearings, replacement after so many years regardless of condition is the only answer. Freight cars are supposed to be scrapped after 40 years service. 
 



Date: 05/13/20 16:13
Re: TSB questions train brakes & testing
Author: alco244

in 20 years of rr experience, any hopper car had the worst brakes, due mostly to dust, rr's lobbied for a reduction in brake maintenance procedure called COT&S, the S stood out for stencil, during a brake test, carnockers would set out any car past its due date, regardless of break operation, brake valves and strainer cocks would be cleaned and serviced. a "slow charger" brake is mostly due to a partially or plugged strainer cock screen, coal, wheat, cement, corn dust are some of the worst, combined with rodents such as mice going up the brake hose and making nest, bees, etc.now thrown in cold weather, air is harder to pump and recover in the reservoirs, during the night and dropping temperatures, brake effusiveness is greatly reduced, i've seen trains perform drastically different when the sun comes up, especially on a bright sunny morning, the saying difference "between night and day" is appropriate. now throw in deep snow, most older grain hopper cars have truck mounted brakes, and frequently drop brake beams en route, in the outlying grain elevators, did the conductor actually "walk" the train in deep snow drifts and really examine each extended cylinder?, or was it a quick drive by in a company pickup truck with a trainmaster, who is more concerned with his bonus than safety? now in the larger yards, the pressure to get the trains out is hi, especially with any company HH ran, any person doing a proper job by the book would be singled out and threatened for trumped up charges and terminated, message is LOUD and CLEAR, profit over safety, railroads have lobbied for years for reduced rules, rules cost money and profits, rules such as violation on power braking, warming up the brakes, wheels , and shoes sometimes miles in advance of steep grades to slow down trains are forbidden and a rule violation, what was a common practice and encouraged as part of proper train handling, now a violation as it cost fuel and brake maintenance, again money and profits, safety be DAMMED, that train with 3 dpu locomotives should have eased the air problems, recharged rapidly, that train should have had a full inspection where it stood and problems corrected, those 3 men died for a multiple of reasons, like a chain, any broken link of many lead to an accident, we all have a part in the blame here, from the CEO and lawyers demanding cost and rule reduction, all the way down to the trainman believing getting that train out quicker and sprinting from one end of the train to the other, going thru the motions of a brake test, and ignoring defects, thinking someone else will take the heat for the delay and set the car out for repairs, a paper brake airslip can and are forged and mean nothing, i fear these men will never get justice, 1st day in training we were told the rule book is written in blood, several pages should be added, people  from the CEO down need to be held accountable, my best guess HH is in hell still trying to change the rules, i've seen it all, we all have a job to do, speak up, or be part of the problem.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/20 16:18 by alco244.



Date: 05/14/20 09:45
Re: TSB questions train brakes & testing
Author: Lackawanna484

In Canada, does a shipper share any accident liability if their cargo is loaded in a car with defective brake systems?

Being able to sue Teck, Irving, Domtar etc could raise the importance of well maintained equipment.

Posted from Android



Date: 05/14/20 10:56
Re: TSB questions train brakes & testing
Author: TAW

alco244 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> all the way down to the trainman
> believing getting that train out quicker and
> sprinting from one end of the train to the other,
> going thru the motions of a brake test, and
> ignoring defects, thinking someone else will take
> the heat for the delay and set the car out for
> repairs,

Some guys are incredibly cavalier about their own safety.

Back in 1979, I was riding the head end of a train from Havre to Whitefish learning the territory. The head man had been on a grain train that got away between Summit and Essex. Most of the train went over the side leaving not much more than the engines, the caboose, and one car on the railroad. I mantioned in the conversation that SP required a running brake test before descending mountain grades and I found it unusual that BN didn't have that requirement. He told me that brake tests were not their job, the train should come out of Havre with good brakes. This was a guy who survived a runaway.

I waqs on the head end of another train that went into bighole coming down the 1% grade between Quincy and Columbia River WA. I went back with the head man. We found a broken knuckle only a few cars behind the engine. It took going through all of the units to find a knuckle. Before he went back to the power, I told him I'd tie down the train. He told me that wouldn't be necessary. We'd be on the way in a few minutes. He headed for the power. I tied down the train, 6500 tons of it, anyway. Well, it turns out, the knuckle pin was bent and we couldn't get it out. We searched the units for tools and found none. We started searching the track for an improvised solution, finding a spike and a big rock to perform the required extrication and replacement. That took a while and a half. Then came the actual work. We got all hooked up and got the train blown up. I told him I was going to walk back and start kicking off brakes. He looked surprised. You tied it down? I forgot all about it. (hey, I'm just a train dispatcher)

TAW



Date: 05/15/20 07:20
Re: TSB questions train brakes & testing
Author: trainjunkie

We are often our own worst enemy.



Date: 05/15/20 13:49
Re: TSB questions train brakes & testing
Author: eminence_grise

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In Canada, does a shipper share any accident
> liability if their cargo is loaded in a car with
> defective brake systems?
>
> Being able to sue Teck, Irving, Domtar etc could
> raise the importance of well maintained equipment.
>
>
> Posted from Android

The current grain car fleet is a mix of railway owned covered hoppers, leased cars from the US and former Government of Canada cars, often now owned by short line and regional railways. Likely, some are due for maintenance or even disposal. 



Date: 05/20/20 16:53
Re: TSB questions train brakes & testing
Author: Englewood

I remember hearing a TM on the phone with a 
car foreman asking for a "blind" carman to 
inspect a hot cut of cars that needed get out
on a waiting train.



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