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When the brakes failed on a 72-car oil tank train on the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railways, Inc. in the small village of Nantes, Quebec, about seven miles west of Lac-Mgantic, a string of tank cars rolled downgrade and exploded in the center of the town, killing as many as 50 people, many in the Musi-Cafe enjoying a 1 a.m. Saturday morning dance. What caused the parked train to run away was under investigation by the railroad and the Canadian government, reported Edward Burkhardt, CEO of the MM&A Railways, a Class II railroad, later that week, but it may take time to sort out the facts.


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