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.