Skip to comments.Engineer at Center of Train Derailment Speaks Out
Posted on 07/17/2013 5:00:36 AM PDT by thackney
The engineer who parked the oil train that rolled away, derailed and exploded in the center of a Quebec town was heard from Tuesday for the first time since the July 6 disaster that killed 50 people, with his lawyer saying he is "devastated."...
Lawyer Thomas Walsh said Tom Harding needs time to recover from the shock. Walsh said he hopes to get psychological help for his client, who has been staying at an undisclosed location to stay away from the media.
"I used the word 'devastated,' and I think that's one word that's applicable, but he's very, very low," Walsh said....
Harding had left the train unattended overnight to sleep at a local inn shortly before it barreled into town, devastating the downtown bar area and forcing a third of the 6,000 residents to flee. Thirty-seven bodies have been recovered, and authorities continue to look for 13 bodies amid intense heat and hazardous conditions.
A local cabbie who picked up Harding from work the night of the accident said the idling train was expelling more smoke than usual. He remembered seeing oil droplets landing on his car and asking Harding twice about it. He said Harding responded that he'd followed the proper procedures before he retired to the inn....
(Excerpt) Read more at rigzone.com ...
“Burkhardt questioned whether he had properly set enough hand brakes and said the engineer had been suspended without pay.”
Hmmm sounds like he is more than questioning when he has suspended the guy without pay
The engineer, and every person in the company up the chain of command, and probably a few government and insurance officials, should be put in a display dungeon in the center of that town, for life.
People who do these things in the US are criminally prosecuted.
He would probably be in custody if this was the US.
Montreal, Maine & Atlantic is owned by Rail World, Inc., and headquartered in Rosemont, a suburb of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois.
A drunk driving a car is "doing it by the book," and statistically speaking, usually gets away with it. IOW, the "proper procedure" usually works, but as we know from the daily drunk driver casualty lists, cannot be infallible.
Did this engineer guy follow "proper procedure?" Did he "do it by the book?" Probably. As the bits and pieces are assembled, another possibility emerged that someone else, noticing the unusual smoke from the idling locomotive, decided to turn it off, which is very easily done with an external switch. BTW, the parked train had NO security and it would not be the first time a runaway train "got away."
PS, I grew up in a town where heavily loaded trains ran right through the middle of town, a block off Main.
There is no doubt the engine was turned off. Firefighters responding to a small fire on one of the engines have confirmed they turned it off.
The "book" requires enough handbrakes be set to hold the engine in place, in case the air supply is lost.
Yes and if it is proven that is right - seems a little premature to me is all!
I am extremely surprised that such an expensive vehicle with such potential for damage could be left unguarded. It may be that procedures for securing the trains need to be looked at and that they should be guarded at all times when running or when there are safety concerns.
Sometimes Risk Management is a recipe for disaster rather than applying all safety procedures possible.
Your shift is over? OK. Union rules. You push buttons A, B, and C, and walk away, whether the next shift is there or not.
In non-union shops in which I have consulted, most notably in Japanese auto companies operating in the US, "showing up on time," is absolutely mandatory, i.e., during a somewhat flexible period before the shift's official start time.
This is the "Turn-Over" period of some 15 minutes, during which the departing shift informs the incoming shift of any issues or interesting developments. That's in writing, in face-to-face,and hands-on communication. It's usually very cooperative and absolutely non-confrontational, among a set of co-workers who overwhelming vote against unionization. (Another discussion.)
This is a key element in QC. It's a vital 15 minutes. BTW, it ain't wage slavery. At one large automobile plant, if you are spot on time for 30 days, you get a $100 bonus.
Thanks for the insight.
I work Security we overlap shifts by 15 minutes but there is an unspoken rule that you turn up 15 minutes before that (unpaid) just in case the handover doesn’t run smoothly or there is an emergency - It is not in my thinking to just walk off of duty if there is not someone to replace me and I cannot understand anyone who would and I used to be in a Union.