Railway Investigation Report R13D0054: Runaway and Main-Track Derailment: Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, Freight Train MMA-002, Mile 0.23, Sherbrooke Subdivision, Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, 06 July 2013

On 06 July 2013, shortly before 0100 Eastern Daylight Time, eastward Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway freight train MMA-002, which was parked unattended for the night at Nantes, Quebec, started to roll. The train travelled approximately 7.2 miles, reaching a speed of 65 mph. At around 0115, when MMA-002 approached the centre of the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, 63 tank cars carrying petroleum crude oil (UN 1267) and 2 box cars derailed. About 6 million litres of petroleum crude oil spilled. There were fires and explosions, which destroyed 40 buildings, 53 vehicles, and the railway tracks at the west end of Megantic Yard. Forty-seven people were fatally injured. There was environmental contamination of the downtown area and of the adjacent river and lake. Accident investigations conducted by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) identified 18 distinct causes and contributing factors, many of them influencing one another. The TSB made the following recommendations: (1) Transport Canada must take a more hands-on role when it comes to railways' safety management systems—making sure not just that they exist, but that they are working and that they are effective. (2) Canadian railways must put in place additional physical defences to prevent runaways. (3) Emergency response assistance plans must be created when large volumes of liquid hydrocarbons, like oil, are shipped. (4) Railway companies should conduct strategic route-planning and enhance train operations for all trains carrying dangerous goods. (5) Enhanced protection standards must be put in place for Class 111 tank cars.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 191p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01536076
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9781100248028
  • Report/Paper Numbers: R13D0054, Cat. No. TU4-25/1-2014E
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 26 2014 10:33AM