July 15, 2013 | Mark Paradies

Train Wreck in Lac-Megantic, Canada

The story continues to get more complicated in the train wreck in Lac-Megantic, Canada.

Initially people wondered about sabotage or the firefighting efforts on the engine that caught fire disabling the train on a hill side. The Chairman of the Montreal, Main, and Atlantic railroad, Edward Burkhardt, blamed the train’s engineer for not setting enough hand brakes to hold the train in place. A quote from a story in the Globe and mail said:

“… the outspoken chairman told reporters he believes that employee Tom Harding – the engineer responsible for the train that night – did not turn enough of the handbrakes that might have prevented the tragedy.”

Here’s raw video of the fire after the crash that is believed to have killed 48 people in Lac-Megantic.


The Canadian Transportation Safety Board  Chair, Wendy Tadros, cautioned against blaming any one person for the accident. In her experience (and our’s as well), major accidents are usually a result of a series of events with several causal factors and failed safeguards. In addition to the initiating event (the fire on the train that disabled it) and the next contributing event (the failure of the brakes to hold the train), the story said that the Canadian TSB will be looking “… at the way MM&A operates, its adherence to safety standards and other issues that might have contributed to the crash.

Root Cause Analysis
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