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CN yesterday announced it's reaching out to municipalities along its network to review the railroad's safety practices, share relevant information on hazardous materials traffic and discuss emergency response planning.The outreach program involves nearly 1,100 communities in Canada and 870 in the United States. To date, CN has tried to engage the vast majority of communities on its network in Canada and held about 100 meetings with Canadian municipalities, predominantly the larger ones, CN officials said in a press release. Through the program, the Class I plans to reach out to many more municipalities this year both in Canada and the United States."CN understands that municipalities feel they need more transparency and information sharing from railways about the dangerous commodities moving through their communities. And that's why we launched a comprehensive outreach program last fall with communities along our network in Canada, and are now launching a similar program this year in the United States," said CN President and Chief Executive Officer Claude Mongeau.Under the program, the railroad is approaching municipal officials and their emergency responders to ensure that they have contact information for appropriate CN officials as well as targeted information that will assist them in emergency-response planning. Outreach efforts include face-to-face meetings and arrangements to conduct training sessions for emergency responders.The program supplements the Canadian government's November 2013 directive that requires major railroads to provide municipalities with yearly aggregate information, presented by quarter, on the nature and volume of hazardous goods transported through communities, CN officials said.The Class I strives to improve safety. The accident rate per million train miles fell 9 percent in 2013, and over the past 10 years, main-track accidents have declined 50 percent despite increased volumes, CN officials said.
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