Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lac-Mégantic report blames lax oversight, weak safety culture

  What has changed since the Lac-Mégantic tragedy?

LAC-MÉGANTIC, QUE. — The Globe and Mail    Aug. 19, 2014
Kim Mackrael AND Grant Robertson
A railroad with a “weak safety culture” and a federal regulator that was asleep at the switch combined to bring about the worst accident in modern Canadian history, says a report by the Transportation Safety Board.

The agency’s investigation into the rail disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Que., last summer – which killed 47 people when a train loaded with crude oil derailed and exploded in the centre of town – places considerable blame on the railroad, Montreal Maine & Atlantic, for failing to operate safely........

..... In its criticism of the federal government, the watchdog agency investigating the crash referred to Transport Canada as “a regulator that did not audit” the safety procedures it required the railway to follow. Transport Canada didn’t do enough inspections and “they didn’t assess the risks properly,” including looking into a company that the government knew had a problematic safety record.......
read more here

More regulations are possible after TSB releases final report on Tuesday

By Riley Sparks, THE GAZETTE   Aug. 19, 2014

..... The federal government has introduced more regulations for rail transport of dangerous goods, and more changes are possible after the release of the Transportation Safety Board’s final report on the accident, to be released Tuesday.

And the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, which owned the train, filed for bankruptcy protection and has been charged with criminal negligence, along with three of its employees.....

.... In January, New York-based hedge fund Fortress Investment Group bought MMA for $17.25 million, acquiring the railway’s 770 kilometres of track in Quebec, Vermont and Maine.

The company has continued operations under the new name Central Maine and Quebec Railway, but is not shipping crude oil. Rail traffic has been travelling on the company’s tracks since late last year.

CMQ CEO John Giles has said that the company may eventually begin carrying crude oil again, but only after improving its tracks and infrastructure......  read more here

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