Thursday, 11 July 2013

Exploding trains

Canadian police now believe that about 50 people were killed in Saturday’s train disaster in Quebec. So far, 20 bodies have been found after a runaway train carrying 72 tankers of oil was derailed and then exploded at Lac-Megantic.

At least 30 buildings were flattened, and about 2,000 people had to flee from their homes.  The chief executive of the train operating company says they believed the driver had failed to apply a set of hand brakes.

The operating company also suggested that firefighters bore part of the blame after they were called to put out a fire on the train late on Friday night as it was parked about 7 miles from the scene of the accident.  

One of the most disastrous train explosions of all time came on the Trans-Siberian Railway on June 4, 1989, when leaking gas from an oil pipeline ignited as two trains were passing near the town of Ufa. One train was blown into the path of the other, and over 3 miles, the landscape was turned into a wasteland, while up to 800 people died.

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