Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Canadian Rail Crash Should Jog More Memories In Wisconsin

The still-smoldering Canadian rail catastrophe has an under-reported Wisconsin connection:

I'd posted a reminder earlier today that Ed Burkhardt, a major figure in Wisconsin and US rail operations, and CEO of the rail line involved in the horrific crash in Canada, was also at the helm of the then-fast-growing Wisconsin Central railroad in 1996 when one of its trains derailed and exploded in Weyauwega, Wisconsin.

By the late 90's, the Journal Sentinel was referring to the Wisconsin Central as an "accident-plagued line."

And the company was in a long dispute with unions and the authorities over the use of one-person crews, and remotely-operated trains.

There are dissimilarities between the derailments:

*  There were no fatalities in the Wisconsin crash; the Canadian death  toll may hit 50.

*  The fire in the Wisconsin derailment was caused by leaking propane from derailed cars; in the Canadian derailment, crude oil from derailed, damaged tanker cars caught fire.

*  The official cause of the Wisconsin incident was found to be an undetected broken rail' no official cause has been established in the Canadian tragedy, though Burkhardt is blaming a train engineer for not setting enough braking on the parked train prior to some oil cars getting loose.

More, here.

And here.

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