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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Canada's Garneau orders Central Maine & Quebec to fix track issues near Lac-Megantic

Transport Minister Marc Garneau
Photo – Transport Canada


Canada's Transport Minister Marc Garneau has ordered Central Maine & Quebec Railway (CMQR) to repair rail deficiencies, undergo federal inspections and maintain a low speed line between Farnham and Lac-Megantic in Quebec until all defects are corrected.

The announcement followed the findings of Transport Canada inspectors who identified a number of deficiencies on a 125-mile section of the rail line, including defective rail and ties, mud spots and ballast conditions that needed to be corrected.

A group of Lac-Megantic residents last week sought an injunction to block transport of dangerous goods on the line unless repairs were made on defective rails. The Lac-Megantic Citizens' Coalition for Rail Safety sent a letter to Garneau as well as Transport Canada official Jean-Rene Gagnon about their concerns, the CBC reported last week.

In May, Gagnon informed CMQR that it had to fix 253 rails, some of which were in the area where the Lac-Megantic rail disaster occurred in July 2013. A speed limit of 10 mph was also implemented on some sections as a precaution.

Since then, the CMQR informed Transport Canada that the 253 defects were corrected on that section of the track, Garneau said in the press release through which he announced his ministerial order.

Garneau has ordered the railroad to:
• perform ultrasonic inspections over the next 12 months and provide the results to Transport Canada;
• repair deficiencies, including the presence of mud spots and ballast conditions by October 15;
• maintain the speed limit already in effect on certain sections, until corrective actions have been implemented, and Transport Canada inspectors have completed their checks; and
• conduct an internal review of its railway inspection and maintenance procedures, to ensure that sound engineering management principles are applied, and that procedures are clear, well understood and followed by its employees.

Transport Canada officials will analyze the inspection results carried out by the railroad, Garneau said.

"In the coming days, they will also carry out onsite inspections to ensure that the corrective actions comply with railway safety standards and regulations, and inspect the 125-mile section of rail lines between Farnham and Lac-Megantic," he added.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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