Well maybe not Thomas the Tank Engine since the wagons sometimes had minds of their own. But with an understanding of physics and root cause analysis techniques you begin to deduce what occurred. Statistically if you keep asking why you will reach the root cause within five questions. Two derailments with hoppers rolled to the inside of the curve.
Why did the cars derail? Possibilities are a car defect (wheel/axle failure),broken rail, a car derailed by another cause drug into the curve, sting lining. A derailed car can roll and roll the car coupled to it. It would have to have been drug far enough to make it off the end of the ties and the ballast would be churned up. In the July derailment there was no evidence of a derailed car being drug along and initiating the roll over. I was doubtful of string lining and went to look the following week. No gouging on the ties and the ballast was barely disturbed.
Why would the cars string line? Draw bar pull higher than the cars could resist.
Why was draw bar higher than the cars could resist? Train too heavy for conditions. Brakes not fully released.
From here you need information not readily available. Thousands of trains have rolled around the curve without incident. Grand Elk itself is coming up on 10 years of operation and now two similar derailments in five months. That would tell you something in the process has changed. Longer heavier trains? Trains are larger and heavier. Conrail ran it's own land barges and had its own derailments. But the cause of their derailments are lost to time. An increasing ratio of hoppers? Among GDLK's growth is agricultural products and transloading which both generate empty hoppers. Empty hoppers are known to have a high center of gravity relative to other car types. KCS was shoving them off curves in the 70's with mid-train helpers until they changed their train make up. Brakes not released? Possible but there is no data.
dave989 wrote:Back in my college days at Western in the early Conrail years I don't remember ever being a derailment in downtown Kzoo. It's time for these fools that run this railroad to get called out, run, fined whatever. This is happening way too often.
Late 70's-early 80's maybe? They rolled an autorack into the side of Food Processing Equipment. They knocked the dwarf signal off its base. A friend of mine salvaged the guts. As I think about their ban on doubling moves came after rolling the rail over on the curve. Not similar to what the Elk has going on.