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Monday, September 30, 2013    

Canadian agency again extends suspension date of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic's operating license


The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has again extended the deadline for the suspension of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway's (MMA) license to operate in Canada, which was slated to be effective Oct. 1.

The agency last week varied its order in a way that might enable the railroad to continue operating until Jan. 15, 2014. The CTA found that MMA "has demonstrated that there are new facts and circumstances warranting a review of the order," agency officials said in a decision rendered on Sept. 26. In addition, the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) court order secures funds for MMA's self-insured retention amount while the certificate of fitness — a license that enables the railroad to operate in Canada — is in force, they said.

"As a result, the agency is satisfied that MMA has adequate third-party liability insurance coverage and the financial capacity to cover the self insured portion of its liability insurance coverage for the continued operation over a short period of time," CTA officials said.

The agency amended its order to change the effective date of the suspension of the certificate of fitness to Oct. 18.

"With respect to continued operations after Oct. 18 to Jan. 15, 2014, this clearly involves operations over a longer period of time and the agency needs to obtain and consider information prior to making a ruling on the longer period," CTA officials said. "In this regard, the agency will be requiring further information from MMA to allow it to make a final ruling on the request to extend to Jan. 15, 2014."

In addition, a CCAA hearing on Oct. 9 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, might impact the consideration of the variance request over the longer period, they said.

The CTA initially suspended the the certificate of fitness following the MMA derailment July 6 in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, that caused 47 fatalities, scores of injuries and significant property damage. The agency's first ruling called for suspending the certificate on Aug. 13, but the effective date was later extended to Oct. 1.

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