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View Diary: More Mystery Surrounds Canadian Ghost Train: Where are the locomotives? (160 comments)

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  •  If the runaway were intact (6+ / 0-)

    at the beginning of its uncontrolled misadventure (assuming minimal to no brakes, as seems evident), the violent decoupling when the first of the derailed cars split the switch 'Y', along with sudden loss of drag by virtue of 'losing' most of the train, would have transferred enough momentum to the engines and first cars to take them a kilometer or so, still downgrade, until the grade reversed and they settled into where they are now.

    •  asdf... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener, Joieau, where4art, KenBee

      Your explanations in this diary are incredibly clear and very helpful. I really appreciate your taking the time to explain things in a way that those of us with zero engineering & physics background can understand. The media coverage has been very confusing, especially with the MMA president throwing out daily BS blame-shifting excuses, which get reported breathlessly by some outlets as fact.

      My mom actually lives very close to this rail line, less than an hour from where it derailed. So needless to say, I have been deeply disturbed by this story in a very personal way. The Eastern Townships are a gentle, beautiful place, filled with lovely people. This 'accident' is a needless, unspeakable horror.

      Thank you, Joieau.

      Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

      by earicicle on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:13:53 PM PDT

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    •  Do I understand this right? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, Al Fondy

      At first, if the train was rolling as one unit, it has a speed, a direction and a center of gravity. As it starts to go around the bend, the whole unit has an angular momentum X, but then each unit of the "polymer" also has a center of gravity, a speed and a direction, an angular momentum, but they are not independent because they are attached.

      Then the train breaks in 2 pieces the first piece has the angular momentum shift all at once to the new center of gravity?

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 03:28:12 PM PDT

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      •  From the diary's map (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hamjudo, LilithGardener, earicicle, KenBee

        there is no 'bend' of mentionable merit anywhere between the original parking spot at 1685 feet elevation and the town 'flat' (the trainyard itself would be flat) of 1312 feet elevation. The distance between original parking and the derailment conflagration is just over 13 kilometers. The engines and first few cars traveled another kilometer beyond the town, apparently to where the track leveled out and began climbing again (plus curve, exerting drag via friction).

        The entire unit was no doubt moving at a clip when it hit the 'Y' at the trainyard and the derailment happened. Once derailed, the bulk of the train would be subject to chaotic forces, energy transferred in unpredictable directions, that's the utter disaster here. The front part of the train (per this info) didn't derail, coasted along the track another kilometer before settling to rest.

        All I'm saying is that the 'extra' kilometer isn't surprising to me, given this particular scenario. None of this explains why the brakes failed - ALL of 'em - setting the train in gravity's motion when it should have stayed where it was parked. That's the mystery, and the crime (if there is one). It's not like you can lean against a braked train to light a cigarette and send it suddenly careening more than 13 kilometers downstream or something...

        •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau

          Really appreciate your clear explanation what makes sense to you in simple physics terms.

          Those pictures of the derailed tankers all piled up are incredible; but I always think derailed trains are incredible.

          "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

          by LilithGardener on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 06:04:24 PM PDT

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    •  again, there's no transfer of inertia unless some (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy

      cars got loose from the others struck the cars/engines ahead, and no, as suggested elsewhere, there's is little force that the explosion could have exerted that can make much speed difference in the speed of this many tonned vehicle mass...vs whatever air pressure wave that could be oriented against it...small area, large momentary pressure shock wave= not much if any change in speed. Might have rocked it and slowed it down too.

      Again, sorry to be a pedant but the moment the train cars uncouple the engine and remaining cars are their own dynamics and speed up or slow down depending on the gravity and drag forces working on them after that moment.

      They would only speed up (assuming they engines weren't actually running, and with all the bullshit, that is also possible) if the cars behind had been putting a drag at that point of the coupling, and they may have been.
           Without the maybe, maybe retarding drag of now detached cars the engine units can now maybe speed up. Maybe.

      Here's my current theory: there were one or two pusher engines at the back...If so, that accounts for the oddness of the engines unit(units? how many?) being able to continue leaving the damaged town and train remnants behind.

      A engine can stay on a track, and could exert enough force to keep a car or two behind stay attached...the farther away, the more likely it would not have enough effect until, boom, over one goes and the rest follow.
          Propane tanker cars are the only possible source to cause explosion I believe...not crude oil..some tanks were still full. Leaking oil could certainly burn, but there is some other element causing the explosions here..propane tanks fit the bill exactly. The only other domestic energy point that could explode and be near that track may be an underground natural gas pipeline..but we haven't heard of any yet right?

      More my theory: There were some brakes set, but the engineer didn't walk the mile back to set the rear engine or rear car's brakes, or at least they weren't set, or were removed/unset, or they just weren't strong enough to hold the train, whatever.
          If there were some pusher engines he may have thought they would add to the static braking being off somehow...and I still haven't yet seen a consistent explanation about engine brakes and fail safes and these engines. yet.
       He says good enough, fuck it, I hate this owner, I am out of here.

         Then a hot engine and no cooling air allowed a small leak in the perfect place to catch fire a few minutes after the engines stopped moving, yet still creating heat by idling.

      The firefighters stopped the engine, unknowingly now releasing or prevented air brakes from holding the train...now as the pressure bled off, brakes got released and whatever dead man's brakes remaining in this long  train just weren't enough to hold it. Checking with train management to ok the configuration they got a wrong answer.

      I still don't see anything about how many engines there were, their configuration, and where did they all end up?

      And that's my theory fitting what I think are the facts digested from this jumble of bad reporting (but excellent diarying) and deliberate spin and disinformation from the slug of a railroad owner...add the pipeline bs artists and the enormous gain they get out of this...anything is possible, yes they could have sabotaged this train.

      Thanks Zwoof...we shall see,...maybe.

      This machine kills Fascists.

      by KenBee on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 12:27:28 AM PDT

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