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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

CTA extends Montreal, Maine & Atlantic's operating license until Feb. 1

For a third time, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has extended a deadline for the suspension of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway's (MMA) license to operate in Canada.

Last week, the CTA issued an amended decision that extends the deadline to Feb. 1, 2014. The agency initially intended to suspend the railroad's "certificate of fitness" — a license that enables the railroad to operate in Canada — on Aug. 13 following the major derailment that occurred July 6 in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The agency later extended the suspension date to Oct. 18, and then to Jan. 15, 2014.

The CTA determined that MMA has demonstrated it has adequate third-party liability insurance coverage, including self insurance, to operate until Feb. 1, 2014.

After examining both existing and new MMA information to assess operating risks and risk exposure for the longer operating period, the CTA found a significant decline in the overall volume of commodities transported by the railroad, including hazardous materials, agency officials said in the amended decision.

"This equates to a forecasted decrease of over 70 percent in total traffic, with a reduction in the transport of dangerous goods of over 80 percent over the same period," they said. "The volume of dangerous goods is … projected to represent approximately 30 percent of MMA's total traffic, a decrease from the pre-accident level of 50 percent."

Agency officials also took into consideration that, by discontinuing the transportation of crude oil for the period of the extension date, the distance over which hazardous materials are carried by MMA will be reduced by 90 percent. The lower volumes combined with shorter distances greatly reduces MMA's risk exposure, CTA officials determined.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/21/2013