Lac-Mégantic locomotive pulled from auction

Lac-Megantic burning on the first day after the rail car derailment sent fireballs and streams of burning oil coursing through the Quebec village. Photo: Surete du Quebec

Lac-Megantic burning on the first day after the rail car derailment sent fireballs and streams of burning oil coursing through the Quebec village. Photo: Surete du Quebec

Slightly over a year after the July 6, 2013 inferno which claimed 47 lives in the Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic, the Canadian Press reported the locomotive from that rail disaster was up for auction.

It was to have been included in an sale of 25 locomotives from Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Company, which declared bankruptcy in the aftermath of that tragedy.

According to the CP’s Andy Blatchford (7/23) the opening bid had been set at $10,000 USD:

“The MMA 5017 unit was the lead locomotive in a derailment and fire incident in Canada,” reads the ad on the website for Adam’s Auction & Real Estate Services, Inc.

It notes that due to that crash, “the number 4, 5 & 6 power assemblies were removed.” The ad also states that MMA 5017 has a “defective piston.”

On July 30, the Canadian Press reports that particular locomotive was pulled out of the auction at the request of Quebec Provincial Police.

A senior executive at the bank said the counsel for the U.S. bankruptcy trustee gave them the go-ahead to sell the locomotive.

“It was indeed our understanding… that there was no legal impediment being imposed by the authorities to including 5017 in the auction,” Yellow Light Breen wrote in an email.

“However…the (Surete du Quebec) made it clear that to the contrary they needed to maintain control of the locomotive during the criminal proceedings. Both the bankruptcy trustee and the bank readily acceded to that demand.”

Here’s more background on the assets of the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway. The Associated Press reports the company was sold in May to  “…a subsidiary of New York-based Fortress Investment Group,[which] is changing the railroad’s name to Central Maine and Quebec Railway. It has no plans to resume oil train shipments.”

To date, three ground-level rail employees have been charged in the case, after being arrested in May. As reported by the Toronto Star:

Little could be heard as they emerged before the gaze of townsfolk, aside from the clicks of news cameras — and a few whispers.

“It’s not them we want,” said one soft murmur as officers led the shackled men out of a police van.

Railway employees Thomas Harding, Jean Demaître and Richard Labrie were each charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death — one for every person killed last summer when rail cars carrying volatile crude oil exploded in the heart of town.

The three men were released on bail after entering pleas of not guilty. Proceedings on those charges are set for Sept 11.

One of the five locomotives of the train that derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, on July 6, 2013 is guarded by a Sûreté du Québec police cruiser. Locomotives were somehow detached from the train and stopped 1 kilometre (0.6 mile) from the scene of the explosion that killed 47 people. Photo: Bouchecl, Creative Commons, some rights reserved.

One of the five locomotives of the train that derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, on July 6, 2013 is guarded by a Sûreté du Québec police cruiser. Locomotives were somehow detached from the train and stopped 1 kilometre (0.6 mile) from the scene of the explosion that killed 47 people. Photo: Bouchecl, Creative Commons, some rights reserved.

Tags: , , , , , ,

3 Comments on “Lac-Mégantic locomotive pulled from auction”

  1. Ken Hall says:

    The Cree, one of the indigenous peoples of North America, coined a term for the types of folks nearer to the top of the food chain pulling the strings whilst ensuring that those closer to or at the bottom of the food chain take the fall when the train runs off the tracks, as happened literally in Lac-Megantic. This methodology in use as far back historically as humans have existed, was given the name,”Wetiko” by the Cree. Anyone recall who took the fall at Abu Ghraib prison? Examples of these miscarriages of justice fill human history with “big” offenses becoming culturally memorable while the plethora of the mundane offenses are constrained to the memories of the few or the individuals who endure such actions by employers, neighbors, ., ., relatives.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  2. Michael Greer says:

    Yes, I can’t help but wonder what things would be like if Obama had started his presidency with a war crimes trial for Bush, Cheney, and the rest of that crowd, instead of moving toward center in a foolish attempt to work with the Republicans.
    I find myself wanting to leave the Democratic Party in a move to the left….but where does that go?

    Hot debate. Like/Dislike Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  3. Pat says:

    How does a post concerning the sale of MMA locomotives degenerate so quickly into a statement about Democrats and Republicans, about Obama and Bush? Really?!

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

Comments are closed.