TORONTO – Transport Canada is proposing a further upgrade to rail tanker cars that haul flammable materials across the country.
In the past month, four trains carrying crude oil have derailed in Canada and the United States, sparking major fires, polluting waterways and forcing some evacuations.
There have been three recent CN Rail derailments in northern Ontario, including two along a stretch of track about an hour south of Timmins, near the village of Gogama.
A CN train also derailed Wednesday evening near the Manitoba community of Gregg, about 50 kilometres east of Brandon. CN spokesman Brent Kossey said there were no reports of injuries but provided no information on what cargo was in the derailed cars.
The latest proposals revealed Wednesday would build on new standards announced last July and require shippers to upgrade tank cars to a standard called TC-117 by 2025.
The latest upgrades call for improved shields at the top of the tank car to better cover the pressure release valve from damage in a derailment. A full shield to protect either end of a tank car from puncture would also become mandatory.
A thermal shell to better shield tank cars from fire would also become mandatory and steel used to build the cars would be thickened to 9/16th of an inch from 7/16ths.
The proposed regulations do not cover improved braking requirements. Transport Canada says technical discussions continue with the U.S. to achieve a harmonized set of standards.