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OTTAWA – Transport Canada has announced new regulations tightening safety on Canada’s railways, beginning with ordering the 5,000 most dangerous tanker cars off the rails.
The new rules also cover speed limits, route assessments, emergency response plans and the phasing out of tens of thousands of dangerous railcars.
Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced the moves Wednesday, accepting major safety recommendations of the Transportation Safety Board following last summer’s tragedy in Lac-Megantic, Que., in which a train carrying 113,000 litres of crude oil derailed, exploded and killed 47 people.
About 5,000 DOT-111 tanker cars are to be removed from Canadian railways within 30 days. Another 65,000 DOT-111 cars must be removed or retrofitted within three years, a timeframe rail industry experts are calling “ambitious.”
The measures didn’t fully satisfy NDP leader Tom Muclair. “What happens in the meantime in all those communities where this very dangerous material is being transported today?” he asked. “You can’t tell us you know that they’re dangerous and yet you’re going to continue to allow them to roll through these communities.”
Ms. Raitt said the DOT-111 cars are just one of several risk factors contributing to rail crashes. “There’s not just one aspect in mitigating risks, there’s many.”
She said even more important than replacing DOT-111 cars, was to keep cars from derailing in the first place.
Effective immediately, Transport Canada will conduct risk assessments of routes where dangerous goods are transported, and establish speed limits of 50 miles-per-hour or less in areas that are built up or near drinking water.
Fundamentally, “the system is safe; we’re trying to make it safer,” said Ms. Raitt.
For the rest of this article, click here: http://business.financialpost.com/2014/04/23/canada-to-phase-out-in-3-years-old-rail-tankers-of-type-that-exploded-in-lac-megantic-disaster/