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Rail News: Canadian Pacific

CP knocks Canadian transport minister's comments on safety investigation


Canadian Pacific officials said yesterday that the company is fully cooperating with a new federal safety investigation and that they are disappointed with Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt's comments about an allegation that the company violated safety rules.

Transport Canada is investigating an alleged incident — raised in local news media reports — that the Class I parked a train carrying dangerous goods on a mountain slope in British Columbia without applying adequate brakes. No charges have been filed against CP, nor have any allegations been proven, CP officials said in a press release issued yesterday.

"We are concerned about accusations and threats made in the media by the Minister of Transport during an ongoing investigation where the facts have not yet been established," said E. Hunter Harrison, CP's chief executive officer. "Furthermore, to suggest that there is any parallel between these allegations and the tragedy of Lac-Megantic is, at best, unfortunate."

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported recently that Canada's federal transportation department issued a search warrant that alleged a CP manager ordered employees to leave trains unattended in the evening of Feb. 14-15 without adequate brakes above the town of Revelstoke, B.C., according to a report by Reuters.

The incident allegedly occurred Feb. 14-15 as CP workers were preparing a strike that would end Feb. 16, according to the news report.

In an interview with Canadian news media, Raitt said she was glad the investigators are following through with the investigation.

Railway safety rules were updated in October 2014 to require railroads to increase measures that would prevent runaway trains. The order was in response to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada's recommendations following its investigation into the deadly train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, in 2013, Raitt said.

CP officials said the railroad cultivates a strong safety culture among its employees, achieved the best accident prevention rate by a North American Class I in 2014, and was among the earliest advocates for tougher tank-car standards.

"Any insinuation that CP doesn't take safety seriously or would tolerate a culture that allows employees to cut corners or break rules is deeply disturbing and inappropriate," Harrison said. "If we make a mistake, we take responsibility and take action to ensure it never happens again."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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