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C 2/2002 R

C 2/2002 R

Hazardous situation generated by bearing damage in tank wagon at Viiala, Finland, on February 11, 2002.

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On Monday February 11, 2002, at Viiala, Finland, a hazardous situation was generated by a bearing damage in a tank wagon carrying butadiene gas. Actually the driver of a meeting freight train saw sparking in the train in question and advised the remote controller thereof. The train was stopped at Viiala station and the wagon concerned was uncoupled from the train. As a result the train ran with a delay of about 2.5 hours.

The bearing damage was caused by a wheel rim flat. A relatively important shock-type load had stressed the bearing so as to damage the bearing. An additional contributing factor may have been a bearing material fatigue, considering the age of the bearing.

To ensure an early detection of a rise in the bearing temperature, implying a bearing damage, a sufficient number of temperature controlling hot-box detectors should be used, so as to prevent the generation of any major damage. The Accident Investigation Board of Finland hence reiter-ates the recommendation formulated in the Investigation Report C 26/1997 R and repeated in the Investigation Reports C 2/1999 R, C 4/1999 R and C 1/2002 R, concerning the control and monitoring of hot-boxes and the development of relevant control equipment. Moreover the Accident Investigation Board proposes that further studies be engaged on the possibilities of use of wheel-flat detecting devices, as suggested in an earlier Investigation Report C 2/1999 R. Also the recommendation on a bearing monitoring system included in the Investigation Report C 4/2001 R should be reassessed and rediscussed, considering that such a monitoring system would permit a timely removal of ageing bearings susceptible to damage.

The recommendation on temperature control devices is being implemented by the Finnish Rail Administration in terms of its project focusing on an increase in the number of hot-box detectors in the coming years. E.g. on the section of line Kerava – Tampere, indicators have been installed in both directions at min. 50 km intervals.

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