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Transport Canada limits length of all northbound CN trains to prevent derailments in B.C.


Yesterday, Transport Canada announced it ordered Canadian National Railway Co. to limit to 80 cars the length of all trains — including those using distributed power — operating northbound between Squamish and Clinton, British Columbia, to prevent derailments. Last month, the agency ordered CN to limit train length only on conventional trains.

“I am very concerned about the number of derailments in the Squamish area and that’s why we are further restricting CN’s operations … until [they] can demonstrate that they can operate longer trains safely on that route,” said Canadian Transport Minister Jean Lapierre in a prepared statement.

Between Aug. 22 and Sept. 16, Transport Canada reviewed CN’s inspection and safety procedures pertaining to covered railway equipment, operations and infrastructure after a train derailed north of Squamish. Nine empty flat cars derailed in the same area Oct. 24 and 10 empty cars derailed north of Sunset Beach Nov. 3. Canada’s Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accidents.

Per Transport Canada’s order issued last month, CN provided the agency a detailed analysis — focusing on train length, equipment, track conditions and speed — of distributed power operations in the Squamish area and a comprehensive risk assessment of any changes made to the former BC Rail’s operating procedures. Transport Canada is reviewing the documents.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/8/2005