4 years after Lac-Mégantic, Montreal researchers trying to prevent similar disasters

Thursday, 06 July 2017, 09:34:49 PM. As Lac-Mégantic rebuilds and rebrands itself as an eco-friendly hub, some engineers at Montreal's Concordia University are working to develop a math model they hope could help prevent similar rail disasters.
The dangers of transporting hazardous goods by train were highlighted in tragic fashion four years ago, when an oil-laden runaway train derailed and crashed in the centre of Lac-Mégantic, Que., killing 47 people. But as the town rebuilds and rebrands itself as an eco-friendly hub, some engineers at Montreal's Concordia University are working to develop a math model they hope could help prevent similar rail disasters. The project, which is led by PhD student Omar Abuobidalla, aims to develop a model that would consider various risk factors involved in a given train journey, thus allowing rail operators to make the best decision on what route to use, according to one of the project's supervisors. Questionable Texas law firm pockets millions from Lac-Mégantic compensation fund "It may be (that) through investigation we locate very dangerous locations or track segments, and give that a much higher weight in the modelling," said Mingyuan Chen, a professor in Concordia's department of mechanical and industrial engineering. The solution from the mathematical model would then help avoid those locations, he added. As an example, the finished version of the model could include risk factors such as an area's population, the type of material being transported, and even the slope of the track — some of which may have contributed to the Lac-Mégantic disaster. The oil-filled train derailment killed 47 people on Sunday, July 6, 2014 in Lac-Megantic, Que. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)...Read more
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