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Province announces new rail regulations

By: Andrew Szekeres

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jul 03, 2014 02:43 pm

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The Federal Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt announced on June 27 that new regulations will be imposed to increase safety along railway lines throughout the country.

The measures were introduced under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act; the Railway Safety Management System Regulations; and the Transportation Information Regulations.

The following amendments were made to the act: requiring 35 provincially regulated railway and light-rail companies operating on federal track to develop and implement Safety Management Systems; formalizing new DOT-111 tanks cars – the black un-pressurized tank cars commonly seen – that will require thicker steel walls and other reinforcements to reduce the risk of spills on impact and improving data reporting requirements for railways, requiring them to proactively identify and address safety risks before accidents happen.

“I don’t think we’re where we need to be as of yet, as it relates to requirements on goods coming to the community,” Mayor Peter Brown said. “However, as it relates to the requirements on high hazard cars are all great steps forward.”

A representative of CP Rail will be meeting with Airdrie’s City council on July 9 to discuss the new measures and meet with council.

“We’ll talk about the new measures, how it relates to us and how to increase safety for the future as it relates to traffic in our community,” Brown said.

In August 2010, a freight train derailed 1.5km north of Airdrie with no injuries. That freight train contained 12 pressured tank cars containing anhydrous ammonia – a concentrated nitrogen fertilizer used on farms.

The new safety procedures follow previously announced regulations, earlier this year, from the Minster of Transport in regards to recommendations made by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. The recommendations followed the Lac-Mégantic train derailment last year.

The Lac-Mégantic train derailment occurred on July 6, 2013 when an unattended 70-car freight train carrying crude oil ran away and derailed in the Quebec Town. The freight train was carrying the DOT-111 tank cars.

The accident resulted in a fire, causing an explosion that leveled more than 30 buildings. There were 42 confirmed deaths with five others presumed dead.

On April 23, 2014, Raitt announced that Transport Canada would remove the least crash-resistant tank cars from dangerous goods service; would bring tank cars that do not meet the standard in the January 2014 Canada Gazette – the official newspaper of the Government of Canada – up to code; Emergency Response Assistance Plans for crude oil, gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel and ethanol; a task force with stakeholders – municipalities, first responders, railways and shippers together to strengthen emergency response capacity across the country; and require companies to reduce the speed of trains carrying dangerous goods.


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