CN Rail argued against emergency provision after Lac-Megantic: memo

OTTAWA – Newly released documents show CN Rail argued against an emergency provision — implemented after the Lac-Megantic disaster — requiring that trains loaded with dangerous goods such as crude oil never be left unattended.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt issued the emergency directive last July 23 to address key safety deficiencies exposed by the fiery derailment that claimed 47 lives in the small Quebec town.

The measures dictated that at least two crew members work trains carrying hazardous goods, adding that no such train could be left unattended on a main track.

A July 9 memo obtained by Greenpeace Canada under the Access to Information Act shows CN Rail objected to having a crew member present round-the-clock, saying ensuring full compliance with the rule would be “nearly impossible.”

Transport Canada quietly approved final safety rules, drafted by the railway industry, on Boxing Day just as the emergency directive was set to expire.

The latest rules drop the requirement that a train with hazardous cargo be continuously attended, but insist if it is left on its own that precise braking instructions be followed and the cab be secured to prevent unauthorized entry.




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