With the cold Canadian winter hurdling down much of the country at this point, we’re providing those of you trying to cope with the issue of idling locomotives another YouTube video in order to warm you up and wonder why it’s not doing the same for more locomotives:
Spences Bridge, B.C. is a self-described Train Town as portrayed in a recent documentary by the same name. Dwayne Rourke’s film clearly illustrates the variety of dilemmas currently being faced by local residents as a result of current rail practices.
Rourke has also posted a separate video on YouTube, which questions CN Rail’s recent decision to leave an idling engine for a prolonged period within the heart of the village.
In our previous post, we omitted one further major reason why the railway’s goal of shipping Alberta’s crude oil by rail instead of by pipeline is a serious problem: regulation, or the lack of it – to specifically address the impact that the proposed massive increase in freight volume could potentially have on both communities as well as areas of environmental sensitivity.
However, John Kristensen, the author behind the highly informative “Railroaded!” blog, tackles the issue in a recent article, which we have reblogged below for our readers.
Jim Wood writes this letter to the Edmonton Journal, pointing out that it is not safe to ship oil by rail. He writes that if more pipelines are not built, more oil will be shipped by rail and that could be disastrous. Wood refers to the 2005 derailment of a Canadian National Railway train that spilled 1.3 million litres of heavy bunker fuel oil and 700,000 litres of Imperial Pole Treating Oil into Wabamun Lake, west of Edmonton.
As the controversy continues to heat up in western Canada over Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline from Alberta’s Tar Sands to British Columbia’s west coast ports, Canada’s railway industry has already weighed in.
Although much of the debate about the Northern Gateway Project is currently centred around the environmental risk posed by the construction of a pipeline through B.C’s pristine wilderness, followed by the use of massive oil tankers off of B.C.’s magnificent coastline to overseas markets, there’s a third possibility that looms ominously in the background, cloaked in its own fumes.
Canada’s two major railways, CN Rail and CP Rail, are eager to wade into the Tar Sands action and capture as much – if not all – of it for themselves, either by replacing the proposed pipeline altogether, or hauling as much as possible despite it.