The Canada Safety Council is calling Canada’s rail system a disaster waiting to happen, and it blames deregulation for the mess.

The council’s Emile Therien told CTV News that one possible result could be the “major evacuation of a major urban area … and all the attendant cost that goes along with that.”

To ward that off, “CSC strongly urges the government to reinstitute the authority of Transport Canada,” said the council’s report, obtained Monday by CTV News.

The CSC said the move to deregulation “allows rail companies to regulate themselves, removing the federal government’s ability to protect Canadians and their environment, and allowing the industry to hide critical safety information from the public.”

B.C. New Democrat MP Peter Julian added his voice to the criticism.

“Since self-managed safety was put into place, it has been a disaster for Canadians. Lives have been lost; we’ve seen environmental devastation,” he said.

Safety Management Systems (SMS) came into force in 1999 after the Liberal government of the day amended the Railway Safety Act.

The policy change ended the oversight role of Transport Canada.

“CSC believes that SMS allows rail companies to regulate themselves, removing the federal government’s ability to protect Canadians and their environment, and allowing the industry to hide critical safety information from the public,” the report said.

CTV’s W-FIVE has reported on serious problems within Canada’s rail system, including a large jump in derailments in 2005.

The CSC report noted W-FIVE’s finding that in 2005, there were 103 main-track derailments for one “major rail company” in 2005 — an average of one every 3.5 days. The report termed that “a truly dismal safety record.” W-FIVE named CN Rail as the company in its report.

One such incident was the derailment near Lake Wabamun, Alta., which led to the spill of oil and wood preservatives into the popular recreational lake.

Two days later, another CN train derailed over the Cheakamus River just outside Squamish, B.C., dumping more than 40,000 litres of caustic soda.

And in 2006, a derailment in B.C. left two train crew members dead.

Industry reaction

However, the industry argues that one year doesn’t tell the story.

Cliff MacKay of the Railway Association of Canada agrees there was a spate of incidents in 2005, but argue many were linked to extraordinary factors like weather events and labour disruptions.

“But if you look at the numbers overall, the numbers have been progressively improving,” he said.

CN Rail, which has seen some of the worst incidents, rejected the CSC report outright.

“They didn’t do their homework,” said spokesperson Mark Hallman, adding it was based on a “faulty, biased” report by W-FIVE.

The CSC report is one of many that will end up on the desk of Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon.

“If there was not a problem … we would not have the panel struck by the minister to really look into safety in the railroad industry,” Therien said on CTV’s Canada AM.

The government isn’t planning to look at any changes to rail safety until the end of 2008. The safety council said the problem is urgent and action is needed now.

Therien is calling on Transport Canada to get involved again as the railway regulator.

“They’ve got to become effective to get back into that particular game,” he said Tuesday.

“The railroads cannot be allowed to review or vet the safety standards, which are really established by Transport Canada,” he said.

With a report from CTV’s Graham Richardson Source

A few Question we all should think about.

Was this disaster in Quebec preventable?

Are there people/security watching over rail yards?

Is the equipment used safe and well maintained?

Are all employees well trained?

Are owners/operators putting profit before safety?

Do you think deregulation has made rail ways more dangerous?

Train car ammonia leak forces evacuation in small Ontario town on Monday July 8 2013 No one was hurt. This does also point to safety concerns however.

Information on how to donate to the victims of this horrific disaster. They will need all the help they can get.

Saskatchewan mayors worry about rail lines

Saskatoon mayor calls for rail lines to be moved

Rail emergencies raise concern over Sudbury tracks

Manitoba town wants to know what rail cars are carrying

July 10 2013 Update

The owner is attempting to blame the fire department for the disaster as they shut down the engine to put out the fire in Nantes. He said this during the video interview with CBC.

MMA, which is headquartered in Chicago, has a long history of accidents in Canada, according to Transportation Safety Board data, which shows 129 accidents, including 77 derailments — some of them minor — since 2003. For entire story and video of interview go HERE

To Edward A. Burkhardt I am sorry to say, but your people were left at the scene of the fire, to take care of things, after the fire department left. It was the companies responsibility to make sure the train was secure. It is the companies job to make sure all their trains are safe and secure at all times.

A new questions. What other cargo, was on the train other then oil?

How much diesel was present? I am thinking the train was being hauled by diesel engines. Diesel is more volatile then crude oil. Five engines would need a great deal to operate. Could be that is what sparked the explosions? What caused the fire in the lead engine?

Engines can have a fuel capacity of 2,900 gallons as noted HERE

2900 gallons

Or in this type of engine fuel capacity 1,800 gallons noted HERE

1800 gallons

Both of those engines are from Rail Wold Inc 

Rail World Inc, ownes MMA. Odds are they supply the engines for MMA.

Multiply either or by 5 and you have a whole lot of flammable fuel.

Add to that if the engines that went off the track hit a car, truck or whatever, it would make it even more problematic.

July 10 2013 Report

Burkhardt said Tuesday he hadn’t gone to the stricken community before because company representatives, including president Robert Grindrod, were already there.

Grindrod acknowledged the company likely shares some of the blame for the catastrophe.

“But we can’t say how much blame. Typically major events like this are a combination of factors and we don’t know what all the factors are yet.”

He said there was nothing unusual about having a train sitting unattended as it was when a small fire broke out requiring the intervention of the Nantes fire department. The derailment in Lac-Megantic happened shortly afterward. For entire story go HERE

Recent Photos of aftermath

Lac Megantic explosion: Ottawa approved having only one engineer on ill-fated train

From  July 09 2013

By Les Whittington Ottawa Bureau reporter, Liam Casey GTA, Jessica McDiarmid News reporter, Bruce Campion-Smith Parliament Hill,

OTTAWA—The rail company whose 73-car train devastated a Quebec town when it derailed convinced the federal government last year that it could safely operate trains with only one engineer on board, officials disclosed Tuesday.

Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA) got the green light from Transport Canada for the reduced staffing in 2012.

“They had to meet with Transport Canada and demonstrate to us that they could do it safely,” said Luc Bourdon, director general of rail safety in Transport Canada. For entire story go HERE

What happens if the engineer gets sick, hurt, dies or passes out for some reason? In those events, who drives the train? No one.

The more I find the less impressed I am.

There seems to be a lot of pencil pushers, making stupid decisions.

In the name of profit no less.

A select few in the US who care. I am actually shocked the press even covered this.

Activists rally at Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Headquarters

This is a comparison with all US railways. Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway and Its Safety Record  MMA does not rate well.

Update July 12 2013

Lac-Mégantic marks Canada’s 7th runaway train since 2006

Lac-Mégantic prepares vigil to mark 1 week since derailment

A few interviews audio only. Valuable information  on brakes, safety procedures etc..

Unattended trains not against the rules: Transport Canada

Not against the rules. Well it should be against the rules.

Lac-Mégantic locals paint picture of a terrified train driver

Details of engineer moving tankers away from train inferno 

Point finger at MMA, not Harding: rail expert

Seven more Victims Identified

Vigils across Quebec tonight for Lac-Mégantic

Auction and concert to support Lac-Megantic

Update July 13 2013

Here is a video taken less, then two days after the tragedy.

Apparently this train was parked up on a hill just above Lac-Mégantic, It sat there for a couple of days, running, doors unlocked, unattended. Someone was angry it was left there like the one that that destroyed the town and caused the deaths of so many.

I do believe they complained to the authorities and had the train moved. The train left late on the July 8th.

They were not sure where it went. The video was posted July 7.

I took two captures that show the MMA on the side of the green lead engine and the brick red car just behind it.

MMA head Engine

Lead Engine

MMA parked

Brick Red Car behind Lead Engine

The first Video also shows  Lac-Mégantic, to the left of the tracks.


Lac-Mégantic at a distance, from the tracks, where train is parked

The Video will have all of the above photos in it.

Update July 12 2013

Another 5 Lac-Mégantic victims found, say police

Apparently this is an engine that made it threw

Engine made it threw

The Transportation Safety Board authorities examine the locomotive from which the derailed tanker cars detached. Source

Que Train Fire 20130709

Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers guard the main locomotive involved in a July 6 fatal train derailment and explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Tuesday, July 9, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jacques Boissinot) Source

I have not been able to find anything else out, about the 5 Engines.

Canada Transportation Safety Board

July 15 2013 Updates

Lac-Megantic residents seeking permission for class-action lawsuit

Lac Megantic: Railway’s history of cost-cutting A freight train derailment and explosion in Wisconsin in 1996 foreshadowed the Quebec inferno.

July 17 Update

Former MMA employee quit company over safety concerns

A former Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Rail employee quit the company in 2007. He says he warned to company and American politicians that a disaster like the Lac Megantic accident would happen if they switched to one-man only operations. To listen to the interview go HERE

Reporters get a close up view of the after math.


July 18 2013 Update

Lac Megantic explosion: Railroads prepare for Transport Canada rule changes

CN and CP tighten safety rules after Lac-Mégantic disaster

Railway involved in Lac-Mégantic disaster lays off 19

Size of Lac Megantic oil spill remains a company secret

Wed Jul 17 2013

The company cleaning the oil out of the Chaudière River in Lac-Mégantic will not say how much they have removed, citing a confidentiality agreement with the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway

Update July 19 2013

Lac-Mégantic investigators seek urgent rail safety review

MMA train in minor derailment in Quebec Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, the company involved in the Lac-Mégantic disaster, experienced a minor derailment Thursday in Farnham, Que.

Quebec coroner’s office updates [French only]

The below page is dedicated to all those who perished.

In Memory of those who perished in Lac-Mégantic

All new Updates will be at the link below

Canada: Railway Disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec Part 2


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