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Canada aims to continue bolstering rail safety, transport minister says


In a speech to the Advisory Council on Railway Safety, Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt yesterday described ways the Canadian government is trying to bolster rail safety in response to the fatal July 6 train derailment in Quebec.

One of the federal government's actions following the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, was the issuance of an emergency directive requiring railroads to employ at least two crew members on trains moving hazardous goods; leave no trains carrying hazardous goods unattended on a main track; secure locomotive cabs against unauthorized entry; remove directional controls from unattended trains; and meet certain other conditions, she said in remarks to council members in Ottawa, Canada, according to a press release.

In addition, a ministerial order was issued in July obligating railroads to develop rules to comply with the requirements permanently, and Transport Canada recently released a rule requiring consignors to conduct classification tests on crude oil.

To help further bolster rail safety, Raitt called on the council members — who include representatives from railroads, the Railway Association of Canada, Transport Canada, shippers, suppliers and municipalities — to examine their operations to identify actions that could further reduce risks. She also asked them to provide updates on the ministerial order's implementation, specifically concerning crew sizes and rail car securement, and explore ways to address train speed in urban areas, operator fatigue and technology.

"Our government understands that by working together with the stakeholders in the transportation sector, we can make Canada's rail system safer and more secure," Raitt said.

The Advisory Council on Railway Safety provides a forum for the discussion of rail safety issues, and the development and assessment of associated changes to Canada's regulatory framework.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/23/2013