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Impacts from Railway Diesel Emissions and Coal Trains Studied

A University of Washington study has confirmed what many persons living in proximity to rail operations have long suspected – that residents around rail lines face increased exposure to harmful microscopic particles from diesel emissions.

The study also identified further concerns with residential exposure to larger particulate matter as well, which the study noted as having a possible link from coal trains.

As the argument on both sides of the border intensifies over proposals to increase coal exports to Asia by rail to west coast ports, the study, published in this month’s online journal “Atmospheric Pollution Research” provides some of the first measurements of the impact of emissions from coal trains throughout the Pacific Northwest region.

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Railway Association of Canada Successfully Whittles Down Safety Rules

In the aftermath of the Lac-Megantic rail disaster last July, the federal government moved swiftly to address some of the glaring safety deficiencies within Canada’s railway industry.

Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt, issued an emergency directive in response to the rail tragedy that claimed 47 lives, obliterated part of the Quebec town’s core, and shook the confidence of the majority of Canadians as to the condition of the country’s rail industry. Read more…

CN Rail: Controversy, Contradictions, and Questions

Officials on scene of another CN Rail derailment west of Edmonton, near Peers, Alberta. Photo Credit: Xm105fm,

Officials on scene of another CN Rail derailment west of Edmonton, near Peers, Alberta. Photo Credit: Xm105fm,

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.

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CN in Spotlight With Latest Oil and Propane Fire, Explosion, and Derailment




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…

Railway Fires a Serious Concern for B.C. Community

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…


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