Digest: Broken rail caused VIA derailment, TSB reports

News Wire Digest second section for Aug. 14: Driver sues UP, Metra after collision with maintenance equipment
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More Friday morning rail news:

Report finds broken rail caused VIA derailment in Manitoba

A 34½-inch gap in one rail, apparently created by a fracture during the passage of a previous train, led to the Dec. 31, 2019, derailment of VIA Rail Canada’s Winnipeg-Churchill, Manitoba, remote-service train, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada indicates in an accident report issued Thursday. The report found that the broken rail, which occurred at a joint bar where a section of rail had been replaced in March 2019, showed signs of fatigue fractures that had been present for some time, leading to the failure when an empty Canadian National crude-oil unit train passed about three hours before the VIA train. While an October trip by a track-inspection car had shown flaws below the level requiring immediate action, truck-mounted track inspection equipment failed to note defects during a passage in November. Westbound VIA train No. 692 derailed about 6:45 a.m. west of Portage la Prairie, Man., with its two locomotives overturning and its baggage car also leaving the track. Minor injuries were reported to both crew members in the locomotive, one passenger crew member, and two passengers. [See “VIA remote-service train derails near Winnipeg; five injured,” Trains News Wire, Jan. 1, 2020]. CN has changed its track maintenance procedures regarding maintenance in the viscinity of a joint as a result of the accident.

UP, Metra sued over accident between car, maintenance equipment
Union Pacific and Metra are being sued by a woman injured when her automobile was hit by maintenance-of-way equipment at a Wheaton, Ill., grade crossing in July. The Daily Herald reports that the vehicle driven by 63-year-old Marina Maestas was hit by a ballast regulator at the Washington State crossing on the morning of July 29. Her attorneys say she suffered head and internal injures requiring several surgeries and remains in an intensive-care unit at a Downers Grove, Ill., hospital. The suit alleges that after Maestas waited at the crossing when a hi-rail vehicle passed, the crossing gates rose and Maestas began crossing, only to be hit on the driver’s side by the ballast regulator. The suit, filed Aug. 5, alleges Metra and UP should have known the grade crossing was faulty and should have had a flagger protecting the crossing as the maintenance equipment passed, and that the operator of the regular was driving at an unreasonably fast speed and failed to sound his horn. A Union Pacific spokeswoman told the paper the railroad is currently reviewing the suit.


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