Controversy continues to follow CN Rail, despite its best efforts to “move on” as stated by Chief Operating Officer Jim Vena, after its recent Gainford, Alberta derailment and fire.
The visceral images of a railway resorting to a “controlled burn,” (translation: setting its own freight on fire) left many residents living along rail corridors concerned as to how a similar situation would be handled if such an event happened in their own community, where an intentional burn-off might prove a far more complex, dangerous, or simply impossible to do.
No sooner had CN extinguished the flames from one fire that it found itself engulfed in yet another.
Photo of CN Derailment and Fire, Gainford, Alberta (Photo From Parkland County, Facebook)
The Safety of the Shipment of Oil Products by Rail Questioned – Again
Another derailment, another explosive fire, another evacuation – train disasters such as CN’s most recent at Gainford, Alberta will become the “new normal” warns Greenpeace, unless more stringent railway safety rules are set into place by Ottawa.
As recently as last week, the federal government highlighted new rail safety measures in the parliamentary throne speech. An invited special guest attended the proceedings: Colette Roy-Laroche, Mayor of Lac Megantic, the town that lost 47 citizens and had its downtown core obliterated by a rail catastrophe just over three months ago.
Ottawa vowed “targeted action” to increase the safety of the transportation of dangerous goods, as well as the insurance requirements of rail companies.
Just hours after Ottawa’s announcement, CN had what has been referred to as another “incident.” Read more…
In British Columbia’s interior regions, summers can be long, hot, and extremely dry. Under these conditions, the threat of fire is a constant concern for residents and communities in this part of Canada.
Along the majestic Thompson River that flows through this region, summer daytime temperatures can be in excess of 40 Celsius for days at a time. Indeed, some of the hottest days in the country occur here.
Having just travelled through the nearby Okanagan area in B.C., I had the firsthand opportunity to see just how tinder dry conditions can be. Walk through any forested area, and the vegetation literally crunches underfoot with each step. Read more…
We recently received a comment from Mr. Pieter Sijpkes, which included a link to a recent editorial that he had written, and was subsequently published, by the Montreal Gazette on August 22, 2013, “Letter: Freight trains in Point-St-Charles and St-Henri.”
Sijpkes describes himself as being recently retired from teaching at the McGill School of Architecture, and lives in the Point St Charles area. He states that “The very negative influence of shunting yards on human habitation was studied by my students and I in several projects over the years.” Read more…
“Rail relocation to outskirts of cities a win-win,” says a recently published article by Mary-Jane Bennett, a transportation consultant.
Indeed, the Lac Megantic disaster has touched off a fury of discussion about railway safety in populated areas. One viewpoint favours the outright relocation of rail lines away from urban areas; those opposed point to primarily economic considerations and question the feasibility of such an undertaking.
Bennett says that “while both sides are correct, the arguments for one do not negate the benefits for the other.”
Therein is the challenge. Read more…