Train regulations are a good start
Thursday, May 01, 2014 10:28 am
We are glad to see the immediate implementation of Transport Canada’s new regulations for trains that run through municipalities. (See story on page 4). We think reducing the speed of trains, limiting the kinds of tanks that can carry dangerous goods, requiring emergency response assistance plans for flammable liquids and creating a task force of stakeholders (including municipalities) to strengthen emergency response capacity are all great ideas.
However, we also agree with Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown when he calls for the regulations to go further. It is counterproductive for municipalities to find out what goods travelled through their town at up to 80 kilometres per hour, 30 days after the train has gone through city limits.
If we want to be truly proactive and avoid tragic accidents like the derailment of the train in Lac-Megantic, Quebec that killed 42 people and destroyed much of the town’s downtown core last year, we need to know what local trains are carrying before they travel through.
This will also help emergency responders be prepared for how to deal with a derailment, give City officials and idea of how many and which houses need to be evacuated and could, in turn, save countless lives.
The Aug. 3, 2010 derailment of a train about 1.5 kilometres north of Airdrie served as proof that something like this can happen in our own backyard. At the time the city’s emergency responders and the City of Airdrie did a fantastic job responding to the accident and informing residents about the situation. Regulations requiring rail companies to share what they are carrying before they travel through a town would help make emergency response to such incidents even better.