A number of serious rail runaway accidents have occurred in recent years on long and high grade downhill tracks in mountain terrains in Canada, causing fatal injuries and huge property loss. They were caused by brake failure, misunderstanding of brake features, maintenance deficiency and/or improper brake application on the trains. Train dynamics simulation, brake ratio testing, and dynamometer testing on friction heat fade helped disclose the causes and contributing factors in the cases presented in this paper. Guidelines were revised for safer train operation, equipment requirements and maintenance practice in the mountain terrain conditions.

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