Rails and Wrecks

FTLComm - Tisdale - April 24, 2001
In the light of the derailment in Arborfield this past week it was alarming to see the track moving vertically about two inches this morning as a train crossed this intersection. The rail crossing over the highway is much firmer than the area on each end and on the East side of the crossing both joints looked like rubber. Ensign expressed concern about the condition of the CP line through town on April 6 and had an expert look over the pictures published at that time. The expert noted that the ties did look troubling but the rails would safely hold loads and many worse are in service.

The picture to the right and below show that the ballast is worked up with each passing train so that you can not even see the ties that the rails are mounted upon. The bashing of the loads on these moving rails is seriously punishing the ends of the rails and it is only a matter of time until the bars the hold the joint together crack and fail.

Though trains are passing over this intersection daily it would be a good idea to stop well away from a passing train just in case the rails give out while you are waiting for a train to pass. Maintenance related derailments of this kind are becoming common place throughout the prairie region as the rail companies attempt to maximise their profits and do so by reducing upkeep on their system.