This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations . (November 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Mississauga train derailment|
|Date||November 10, 1979|
|Cause||Overheated journal bearing|
The Mississauga train derailment of 1979, also known as the Mississauga Miracle occurred on Saturday, November 10, 1979, in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, when a 106-car Canadian Pacific freight train carrying chemicals and explosives including styrene, toluene, propane, caustic soda, and chlorine from Windsor, Ontario derailed near the intersection of Mavis Road and Dundas Street in Mississauga, Ontario. As a result of the derailment, more than 200,000 people were evacuated in what was the largest peacetime evacuation in North America until the New Orleans evacuation of 2005. There were no deaths resulting from the incident. This was the last major explosion in the Greater Toronto Area until the Sunrise Propane blast in 2008.
Mississauga is a city in the Canadian province of Ontario and a suburb of Toronto. It is situated on the shores of Lake Ontario in the Regional Municipality of Peel, bordering Toronto. With a population of 721,599 as of the 2016 census, Mississauga is the sixth-most populous municipality in Canada, third-most in Ontario, and second-most in the Greater Toronto Area. It is also one of the most populous suburbs in the world outside of Asia.
Styrene, also known as ethenylbenzene, vinylbenzene, and phenylethene, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5CH=CH2. This derivative of benzene is a colorless oily liquid that evaporates easily and has a sweet smell, although high concentrations have a less pleasant odor. Styrene is the precursor to polystyrene and several copolymers. Approximately 25 million tonnes (55 billion pounds) of styrene were produced in 2010.
Toluene, also known as toluol, is an aromatic hydrocarbon. It is a colorless, water-insoluble liquid with the smell associated with paint thinners. It is a mono-substituted benzene derivative, consisting of a CH3 group attached to a phenyl group. As such, its IUPAC systematic name is methylbenzene. Toluene is predominantly used as an industrial feedstock and a solvent.
On the 33rd car, heat began to build up in an improperly-lubricated journal bearing on one of the wheels, one of the few still in use at that time as most had long since been replaced with roller bearings, resulting in the condition known among train workers as a "hot box". Residents living beside the tracks reported smoke and sparks coming from the car, and those who were close to Mississauga thought the train was afire. The friction eventually burned through the axle and bearing, and as the train was passing the Burnhamthorpe Road level crossing, a wheelset (one axle and pair of wheels) fell off completely.
A hot box is the term used when an axle bearing overheats on a piece of railway rolling stock. The term is derived from the journal-bearing trucks used before the mid-20th century. The axle bearings were housed in a box that used oil-soaked rags or cotton to reduce the friction of the axle against the truck frame. When the oil leaked or dried out, the bearings overheated, often starting a fire that could destroy the entire railroad car if not detected early enough.
Burnhamthorpe Road is a major arterial road in the cities of Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario; beginning at Dundas Street, near Islington Avenue, running west and becoming a rural road in the Town of Oakville, where it terminates at Tremaine Road, where it changes name.
A wheelset is the wheel–axle assembly of a railroad car. The frame assembly beneath each end of a car, railcar or locomotive that holds the wheelsets is called the bogie. Most North American freight cars have two bogies with two or three wheelsets, depending on the type of car; short freight cars generally have no bogies but instead have two wheelsets.
At 11:53 p.m., at the Mavis Road crossing, the damaged bogie (undercarriage) left the track, causing the remaining parts of the train to derail. The impact caused several tank cars filled with propane to burst into flames.
A bogie is a chassis or framework that carries a wheelset, attached to a vehicle—a modular subassembly of wheels and axles. Bogies take various forms in various modes of transport. A bogie may remain normally attached or be quickly detachable ; it may contain a suspension within it, or be solid and in turn be suspended ; it may be mounted on a swivel, as traditionally on a railway carriage or locomotive, additionally jointed and sprung, or held in place by other means.
The derailment also ruptured several other tankers, spilling styrene, toluene, propane, caustic soda, and chlorine onto the tracks and into the air. A huge explosion resulted, sending a fireball 1,500 m (5,000 ft) into the sky which could be seen from 100 km (60 mi) away. As the flames were erupting, the train's brakeman, Larry Krupa, 27, at the suggestion of the engineer (also his father-in-law), managed to close an air brake angle spigot at the west end of the undamaged 32nd car, allowing the engineer to release the air brakes between the locomotives and the derailed cars and move the front part of the train eastward along the tracks, away from danger. This prevented those cars from becoming involved in the fire, important as many of them also contained dangerous goods. Mr. Krupa was later recommended for the Order of Canada for his bravery, which a later writer has described as "bordering on lunacy."
Propane is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula C3H8. It is a gas at standard temperature and pressure, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel. Propane is one of a group of liquefied petroleum gases (LP gases). The others include butane, propylene, butadiene, butylene, isobutylene, and mixtures thereof.
Chlorine is a chemical element with symbol Cl and atomic number 17. The second-lightest of the halogens, it appears between fluorine and bromine in the periodic table and its properties are mostly intermediate between them. Chlorine is a yellow-green gas at room temperature. It is an extremely reactive element and a strong oxidising agent: among the elements, it has the highest electron affinity and the third-highest electronegativity, behind only oxygen and fluorine.
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order and the second highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada. It comes second only to membership in the Order of Merit, which is the personal gift of Canada's monarch.
After more explosions, firefighters concentrated on cooling cars, allowing the fire to burn itself out, but a ruptured chlorine tank became a cause for concern. With the possibility of a deadly cloud of chlorine gas spreading through suburban Mississauga, more than 200,000 people were evacuated. A number of residents (mostly the extreme west and north of Mississauga) allowed evacuees to stay with them until the crisis abated. Some of these people were later moved again as their hosts were also evacuated. The evacuation was managed by various officials including the mayor of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion, the Peel Regional Police and other governmental authorities. McCallion sprained her ankle early during the crisis, but continued to hobble to press conferences.
Hazel McCallion, is a Canadian politician and businesswoman who served as the 5th mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, from 1978 until 2014. She is the first and current Chancellor of Sheridan College.
The Peel Regional Police (PRP) provide policing services for Peel Region in Ontario, Canada. It is the second largest municipal police service in Ontario after the Toronto Police Service and third largest municipal force in Canada with 2,030 uniformed members and close to 844 support staff.
A sprain, also known as a torn ligament, is damage to one or more ligaments in a joint, often caused by trauma or the joint being taken beyond its functional range of motion. The severity of sprain ranges from a minor injury which resolves in a few days to a major rupture of one or more ligaments requiring surgical fixation and a period of immobilization. Sprains can occur in any joint but are most common in the ankle and wrist.
Within a few days Mississauga was practically deserted, until the contamination had been cleared, the danger neutralized and residents were allowed to return to their homes. The city was finally reopened on the evening of November 16. The chlorine tank was emptied on November 19.
It was the largest peacetime evacuation in North American history until the evacuation of New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and remains the second-largest as of 2016.
New Orleans is a consolidated city-parish located along the Mississippi River in the southeastern region of the U.S. state of Louisiana. With an estimated population of 393,292 in 2017, it is the most populous city in Louisiana. A major port, New Orleans is considered an economic and commercial hub for the broader Gulf Coast region of the United States.
Hurricane Katrina was an extremely destructive and deadly Category 5 hurricane that made landfall on Florida and Louisiana, particularly the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas, in August 2005, causing catastrophic damage from central Florida to eastern Texas. Subsequent flooding, caused largely as a result of fatal engineering flaws in the flood protection system known as levees around the city of New Orleans, precipitated most of the loss of lives. The storm was the third major hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record to make landfall in the United States, behind only the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, Hurricane Camille in 1969, and Hurricane Michael in 2018.
Due to the speed and efficiency with which it was conducted, many cities later studied and modelled their own emergency plans after Mississauga's.
As a result of the accident, rail regulators in both the U.S. and Canada required that any line used to carry hazardous materials into or through a populated area have hotbox detectors.
Larry Krupa was inducted into the North America Railway Hall of Fame for his contribution to the railway industry. He was recognized in the "National" division of the "Railway Workers & Builders" category.
The city of Mississauga sued CP in hopes of holding the railroad responsible for the massive emergency services bill. However, the city dropped its suit after CP dropped its longstanding opposition to passenger service on its trackage near Mississauga. This cleared the way for GO Transit to open the Milton line two years later.
Hazel McCallion, in her first term as mayor at the time of the accident, was continuously re-elected ever since until her retirement in 2014 at age 93.
The song Trainwreck 1979 by Canadian band Death From Above 1979 is about the derailment:
It ran off the track, 11-79
While the immigrants slept, there wasn't much time
The mayor came calling and got 'em outta bed
They packed up their families and headed upwind
A poison cloud, a flaming sky, 200,000 people and no one died
And all before the pocket dial, yeah!
Canadian National is a Canadian Class I freight railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec that serves Canada and the Midwestern and Southern United States.
A boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion is an explosion caused by the rupture of a vessel containing a pressurized liquid that has reached temperatures above its boiling point.
The Milton line is one of the seven train lines of the GO Transit system in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada. It extends from Union Station in Toronto to Milton, by way of Mississauga.
The Weyauwega derailment was a railroad accident that occurred in Weyauwega, Wisconsin, USA, in the early morning hours of March 4, 1996. The derailed train was carrying a large quantity of hazardous material, which immediately caught fire. The fire, which involved the train cars and an adjacent feed mill, burned for more than two weeks after the actual derailment, resulting in the emergency evacuation of 2,300 people for 16 days, including the entire city of Weyauwega, with about 1,700 evacuees.
The Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway is a short line railway operating in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. CBNS operates of main line and associated spurs between Truro in the central part of the province to Point Tupper on Cape Breton Island.
Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services (MFES) provides fire fighting service for the city of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
The Waverly tank car explosion was an explosion that occurred at approximately 2:58 p.m. on Friday, February 24, 1978, in Waverly, Tennessee, following a train derailment incident days earlier. A tank car containing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) exploded as a result of cleanup related to this derailment.
Mavis Road and Chinguacousy Road are a pair of interlined roads in Peel Region, Ontario, Canada, running in the cities of Mississauga, Brampton, and the Town of Caledon. Their combined lengths are approximately 37 kilometres.
The MacMillan Yard is the 2nd largest rail classification yard in Canada, after CN's Symington Yard in Winnipeg. It is operated by Canadian National Railway (CN) and is located in Vaughan, Ontario. It is named after former CN president Norman John MacMillan.
The Toronto propane explosion was a series of explosions and ensuing fire that took place on the morning of August 10, 2008, in Downsview, North York, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The explosions occurred at the Sunrise Propane Industrial Gases propane facility, located near Keele Street and Wilson Avenue around 03:50 ET. The blasts caused thousands of people to be evacuated from their homes and cost C$1.8 million to clean up, half of which was paid by the province of Ontario. An employee of Sunrise died in the initial explosions and a firefighter died of cardiac arrest the next day while at the scene.
The Viareggio derailment was the derailment of a freight train and subsequent fire which occurred on 29 June 2009 in a railway station in Viareggio, Lucca, a city in Central Italy's Tuscany region. Thirty-two people were killed, and a further twenty-six were injured
The Burlington VIA train derailment was a derailment that occurred on February 26, 2012, in the Aldershot neighborhood of Burlington, Ontario, Canada, resulting in deaths of the 3 engineers in the locomotive and 46 injuries. There were 75 passengers and four crew members on board at the time of the accident. The derailment occurred in an industrial area northeast of Aldershot GO Station. The official report into the accident was released on June 10, 2013, by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) indicating that the crew misinterpreted the signal causing them to believe that they were authorized to proceed at track speed, when in fact they were authorized only for slow speed—a maximum of 15 mph (24 km/h)—in order to switch tracks.
The Lac-Mégantic rail disaster occurred in the town of Lac-Mégantic, in the Eastern Townships region of Quebec, Canada, at approximately 01:15 EDT, on July 6, 2013, when an unattended 74-car freight train carrying Bakken Formation crude oil rolled down a 1.2% grade from Nantes and derailed downtown, resulting in the fire and explosion of multiple tank cars. Forty-two people were confirmed dead, with five more missing and presumed dead. More than 30 buildings in the town's centre, roughly half of the downtown area, were destroyed, and all but three of the thirty-nine remaining downtown buildings had to be demolished due to petroleum contamination of the townsite. Initial newspaper reports described a 1-kilometre (0.6 mi) blast radius.
In rail transport, the U.S. DOT-111 tank car, also known as the TC-111 in Canada, is a type of unpressurized general service tank car in common use in North America. Tank cars built to this specification must be circular in cross section, with elliptical, formed heads set convex outward. They have a minimum plate thickness of 7⁄16 inch (11.1 mm) and a maximum capacity of 34,500 US gallons. Tanks may be constructed from carbon steel, aluminum alloy, high alloy steel or nickel plate steel by fusion welding.
The technical investigation of the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster looked into the instigating and mitigating factors regarding the incident, one of the deadliest in Canadian railway history, with 47 deaths. It identified 18 factors related to the cargo, maintenance of the tracks, maintenance and operation of the train, and weak government oversight all combined to produce the disaster. Five recommendations for change resulted from the investigation.