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‘A major challenge:’ Report by railway in fatal B.C. derailment studied impacts of winter weather

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A report by the railway company involved in this week’s deadly derailment in the Rocky Mountains details how challenging it is to run trains in frigid temperatures.

« Harsh winter conditions are an inescapable reality in Canada’s northern climate, » says a document titled White Paper: Railroading in the Canadian Winter on Canadian Pacific Railway’s website.

« Winter has a profound impact on a railway’s operations and its ability to maintain service for its customers. »

A Vancouver-bound train with 112 grain cars was parked with its air brakes engaged on a grade east of Field, B.C., when it started moving on its own around 1 a.m. Monday. The train sped up to well over the limit before 99 cars and two locomotives hurtled off the tracks. It was about –20 C at the time.

Engineer Andrew Dockrell, conductor Dylan Paradis and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer died in the crash.

The white paper said cold increases air leakage from a train’s air-brake system that results in varying air pressures between the head and tail end of a train.

Trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer, left, engineer Andrew Dockrell, centre, and conductor Dylan Paradis, right, were killed when a CP train derailed near Field, B.C., early Monday. (Facebook)

« This is a major challenge. »

Trains are shortened whentemperatures dip below –25 C to ensure pressure remains consistent throughout their entire length, the report said.

A union representative has said the derailed train was shorter than the 135 cars CP has run in recent years. But a veteran Boston-based engineer said 112 cars is still large for a train of full grain hoppers.

« Our forefathers in the business would never have put a train together that big under those climatic conditions and expected it to run smoothly, » said Joe Mulligan with Railroad Workers United, a volunteer-run group of rank-and-file railroaders across North America.

The Transportation Safety Board has said the train was parked for two hours before it began to move on its own. Handbrakes were not applied, the board said.

« It would have taken an awful lot of handbrakes to hold a train back that big, » said Mulligan, who added there was nothing to be done once the train was in motion.

The Calgary-based railway said in the report that it also places locomotives at different points along a train in the winter. Distributing power that way makes it quicker to pressurize air brakes. The train that derailed had a locomotive at the front, middle and end.

‘Things break that normally don’t’

In extreme cold, dryers are used to prevent moisture from getting into the brakes, which means it takes longer to pressurize them and do the required safety checks, said the winter railroading report.

« This unavoidably increases the train’s terminal dwell time. »

The white paper also said train speeds must be reduced in frigid temperatures — by at least 16 km/h below –25 C and by at least 32 km/h at –35 C.

Will Young, a locomotive mechanic based in Kansas City, Mo., and an organizer at Railroad Workers United, said cold weather takes a toll on many train components.

« Things break that normally don’t. Steel just becomes brittle. Rubber seals just harden and don’t work. »

Young said he suspects some sort of mechanical issue caused the braking system to lose power. That could have set off the chain of events that led to the catastrophe.

« It only takes that ever-so-slight touch of momentum. »

The spiral tunnels and location of CP Rail derailment. The train started moving on its own and derailed before it reached the second tunnel. (CBC)



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Anglais

A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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Anglais

9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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