I have been thinking of this accident in Canada. Not only was the issue with putting the hand brakes on with the air brakes on already as a root cause, but also the leaks in the air line that must have lowered the air pressure in the system. Air leakage is accepted as normal and no one really spends much time fixing but this accident should reflect on how something so simple as an air leak can cause a disaster.
Fittings around air piping are a typical air leak problem. Simple checks and using higher grade tape could of assisted. I am not the only person to wonder http://about this – here is a great article with more depth of the issue. One good quote from this article:
“Hand Brakes should have been redesigned many years ago, to make them easier to use and more likely to work properly. The problem is, no one is pushing for it. Costly air leaks should have been addressed and improved, but nobody is pushing for that either.
It’s difficult to explain in this format just how much leakage the railway industry is OK with. Locomotives are equipped with an air flow sensor that shows the engineer how much air is flowing/leaking. Get the picture? Leaks are OK, we just have to manage them. Our Lac Magentic engineer was driving the train, so he knew what the leakage was on that train”