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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Canada revises rules for trains hauling dangerous goods

Omar Alghabra
Photo – Transport Canada


Canada's Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced yesterday changes to the federal Rules Respecting Key Trains and Key Routes, which have been approved by Transport Canada (TC).

The changes are the result of ministerial orders put in place in 2020 to address important risk factors for derailments caused by railway infrastructure, especially during winter operations, TC officials said in a press release.

"We are making changes to risks associated with the transportation of dangerous goods by rail, including train speed, colder weather operations and further strengthening track maintenance and inspection practices," said Alghabra.

The revised rules, under the Railway Safety Act, now:
• require railroads to develop a winter operation plan that is specific to each subdivision where higher risk key trains operate, which must be approved by a professional engineer;
• require use of new technology to detect a broken rail in areas where it is not currently present;
• strengthen track inspection (increased frequency and improved quality) and track-maintenance requirements (i.e. ultrasonically testing replacement rail and improved record-keeping); and
• define a "higher risk key train" as a train carrying large quantities of crude oil or liquid petroleum gases and prescribe speed restrictions for these trains.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/23/2021