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Railway Fires a Serious Concern for B.C. Community

by on September 19, 2013

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.

There are no bonfires, no campfires; all are out of the question. The beautiful location that I stayed at placed candles outside on the deck in the evening for their guests…artificial, battery-powered look-alikes, not real candles. No chances are taken with any fire of any size here.

The ancient adage of fire being a good servant but a poor master is taken to heart in the Thompson-Okanagan, where devastating wildfires have destroyed vast areas of wilderness, as well as homes and even communities in the past.

Residents tend to keep an ever-wary eye out for fires as a result.

So, when Spences Bridge resident Dwayne Rourke ominously noted four fires within a relatively short distance from his home in just a matter of weeks, all occurring directly adjacent the railway tracks on both sides of the Thompson River, it was time to act.

Spences Bridge is, in fact, the noted community with days of 40 Celsius weather. Both CN and CP Rail run trains on either side of the Thompson River which flows through the town. Rourke requested a public meeting with the two railways to discuss the community’s apprehension after the fire incidents.

However, after initially accepting Rourke’s invitation, both railways suddenly had second thoughts, and both CN and CP abruptly backed out.

In a comment submitted to The Kamloops Daily News on September 19th, Rourke stated that:

 “…initial confirmation from CN was that 3 reps (not 4) would be coming to the meeting.  This confirmation came from Emily Hamer, regional manager for CN public and government affairs. Said to be coming were Francois Boucher, general superintendent, CN BC South Region, Peter Sampson, assistant superintendent, and Mark McKay, track supervisor.

Initially CP simply declined attendance, with no reason given. Later, when informed of CN’s participation, Rick Poznikoff, Sr. Manager of community relations and aboriginal affairs for CP confirmed his attendance at the meeting. Later in the week he backed out of this commitment. As indicated in the article above, Poznikoff’s communication of non-attendance came simultaneous to a similarly-worded refusal by CN.”

The last-minute cancellation by the railways to attend an open public meeting to address apparent rail-related fires puts the citizens of Spences Bridge in a deplorable situation.

During the last federal review of the Railway Safety Act, in 2007, the issue of railway fires was a topic of consideration. The final report on the review, published in November 2007, Stronger Ties: A Shared Commitment to Railway Safety  discussed aspects of the issue; excerpts are noted below:

“8.3.7       Fires Caused by Railways

 …Forest fires and other brush fires, including those caused by railway operations, can become a serious threat to the public and the environment. Fires along railway rights-of-way can be caused by a number of railway activities, including rail grinding and welding, braking operations or the exhaust of locomotives. Fires can also be caused by non-railway activities, such as by campers or lightning strikes…

…While fire suppression agencies will normally pursue recovery of costs associated with fires they attribute to railway companies, we were informed that railways often challenge such action. Perhaps one of the motivations for companies to challenge cause determination is that such determinations are carried out by fire authorities without the participation of railways, and railways are not always convinced that their rail operation was indeed the cause.

…We understand that, in many cases, railways do rely on public firefighting agencies to combat fires attributed to them. However, we also heard that these firefighting agencies are obligated to pursue cost recovery. Court challenges create delays and added costs which are borne by both parties.

…While the Panel certainly supports due process in legal proceedings, we are very concerned that processes surrounding the determination of cause, and the forum by which resolution of disputes is arrived at, have not been made clearer.

…Under the RSA, Rules for the Control and Prevention of Fires on Railway Rights-of-Way were developed in 1995 by the Railway Association of Canada on behalf of railway companies.

The rules require railway companies to ensure that suitable measures are in place to prevent and control fires on railway rights-of-way through training of personnel, fire prevention and control plans, prevention and hazard reduction practices and sufficient personnel for fire patrol and firefighting requirements.

The rules clearly state that it is the responsibility of the railway company to extinguish all fires on railway rights-of-way, irrespective of the manner in which the fires were started, and fires off the right-of-way that were started or presumed to have been started as a result of railway operations.

…These rules appear to be lacking in several respects. There are no compliance or enforcement provisions and no penalties or incentives. Although the rules clearly state that the railway company is responsible for extinguishing the fire, they are open to interpretation as to liability and associated costs.

Further, the rules are silent on cost recovery, a process for determination of cause, and a forum for deciding apportionment of cost. The rules assign no role to railway safety inspectors. Fire service inspectors (provincial authorities) are cited but they are not sufficiently familiar with railway operations to take effective action.

Clearly, there is a requirement for these rules to be revisited. Given that fires caused by railways affect third parties, well beyond the purview of Transport Canada and the railways, it would be more appropriate to rewrite the rules pertaining to the prevention and control of fires associated with railway operations as a new regulation. This should be a collaborative effort involving railway companies, firefighting agencies and the regulator, and should take into account provisions for apportioning firefighting costs and settling disputes, if they were to occur.

Recommendation 41

The Rules for the Control and Prevention of Fires on Railway Rights-of-Way are neither effective nor enforced, nor do they provide for an adequate process for compensation.

Since these rules involve third parties, they should be replaced by regulations.

To sum up, the Panel concludes that Transport Canada needs to increase its capacity to fulfill its environmental obligations under the RSA and needs to be more proactive. Environmental issues are destined to become even more important as the challenges they present become more pronounced. As discussed in Chapter 11, resources will need to be devoted to fulfill this important role.

Recommendation 42

Transport Canada should develop sufficient capacity and expertise to ensure appropriate oversight of the railway industry with regard to all aspects of environmental protection.”

Six years later, a community attempts to proactively head off a potential railway fire crisis before it occurs…only to be snubbed by both railways at the last minute.

Certainly, both CN and CP are both familiar with the findings of the last review of the Railway Safety Act as noted in Stronger Ties. Ignoring the folks at Spences Bridge won’t resolve the community’s legitimate problems or address their concerns about their safety in the presence of rail operations.

If the issue of railway fires is not worthy of open, frank discussion in what is quite possibly the country’s hottest, driest, most fire-prone locale, what does this say about the railway’s relationship with the community?

Here’s what Dwayne Rourke, of Spences Bridge, has to say:

“Hi Trainjane,

Here is a summary of our fire prevention meeting here in Spences Bridge. Perhaps what transpired here will be of some use to people in other parts of the country who are also dealing with this and related issues.

First of all, both CN and CP bailed at the last moment citing stellar performance on their part and the lack of a clear meeting agenda on our part. Personally, I consider both assertions to be false. The fact that we have had at least four train-sparked fires in our area this summer reveals the falsity of their performance records.

The meeting was billed as a brainstorming session with all stakeholders and was conducted accordingly. Both railways were alerted to this format and also that neither was expected to give any kind of presentation. It was simply an opportunity for stakeholders to be in face-to-face conversation whilst collectively establishing ideas for better train-related fire prevention in our area.

Following is a list of suggestions established by those in attendance. (This included a senator, a mayor, 2 First Nations chiefs, a Transport Canada inspector, a full contingent of firefighters from as far away as Kamloops and several locals, including our local Improvement District trustee.

Ideas suggested and explored:

* Slow trains down for less friction, and lessen possibility of collisions and derailments.

*Restrict grinding operations during fire season, notify residents online, or otherwise, as to grinding schedule so steps towards fire protection can be implemented by rural land-owners.

*Install more “hot boxes” in the drier areas for quicker fire detection.

*Carry more cabooses with spotters and available technology for spotting trouble during high fire hazard season.

*Carry water tanks and sprayers on the end of trains to extinguish any sparks as the train passes. Spray water during fire season, all trains.

*Create specific plans with local and regional fire services to clear debris off tracks in the spring through controlled burning. Herbicides only kill the plants and create more debris, as well as create dangers to wildlife and humans. Burning is a tried and true method of clearing detritus, and traditional activity for First Nations.

*Educate and facilitate people on how to keep their properties “fire smart”, and find help for those who are incapable of this work (seniors, handicapped, etc.). Funding helpers who clean up hazardous debris: people operating weed-wackers, chain saws, trailers for removal, for example.

*Step up education on “who you gonna call?” Everyone should have the number readily available for reporting fires, and know what information (location, size of fire, possible source, etc.) to relay to the fire services.



*Insure that every locality – municipal, first nations, and private – has a mandatory fire prevention plan, and it is carried out consistently. It only works if everyone does it. These plans should be made available to anyone available online and/or in print.

Conclusion:

We will try our utmost to get these ideas into the hands of those who can legislate and enforce them.

We are putting our trust into the hands of our elected representatives, but when this fails, the people must be heard. Railways are corporations, and they will need regulations to follow, and penalties must in place for negligence.

We need specific rules for specific places at specific times. Vague wording in legislation just wastes time and money on lawsuits, a game only corporations can afford to play. We must have positive improvements in prevention before next year’s fire season if we are to see a reduction in railway sparked fires.

Fire prevention must come first, as our firefighters can only do so much to keep us out of harm’s way; the onus is on the railways to minimize the dangers their economic activity generates. We urge the reviewers of the Railway Safety Act to update and upgrade, knowing Canadians are not feeling safe within the bounds of the current legislation.”

Links:

Rourke has submitted some interesting links about railway fire issues. He also writes on his own site, www.therattler.ca

CBC Audio File:  Spences Bridge residents get proactive on train fires

http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/ID/2403882825/

Kamloops Daily News: Articles and Comments

Spences Bridge Organizers Frustrated by Snub From Railways

http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/article/20130904/KAMLOOPS0101/130909944/-1/kamloops/spences-bridge-organizers-frustrated-by-snub-from-railways?fb_action_ids=10151897272242959&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

Chain of Fires Blamed on Railcar

http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/article/20130813/KAMLOOPS0101/308129983/0/kamloops/chain-of-fires-blamed-on-railcar

Train That Sparked Wildfires a Worry for Spences Bridge

http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/article/20130827/KAMLOOPS0101/130829867/0/kamloops/train-that-sparked-wildfires-a-worry-for-spences-bridge

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12 Comments
  1. Walter Pfefferle permalink

    What a lame story. Compared to what lightning, people and other means cause fires, railways probably don’t even show on radar, You should have been around when steam engines ran through there, then you would have something to complain about. BC Forest Stats do not even show them as a concern. http://bcwildfire.ca/history/average.htm
    Must be a slow news month for you.:-)

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Mr. Pfefferle,

      I trust that you have finally gotten your radar up and running again, and that it has registered the latest railway fire that has been the lead story on the national news lately.

      B.C. Forestry statistics may or may not not isolate fires specific to railways, but the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre did report very specific information to Federal officials in the past…this information is available on page 151 of Stronger Ties: A Shared Commitment to Railway Safety. Parts of the same page were quoted in the very blog post you are commenting on.

      Now, that wasn’t so hard to find, was it?

  2. i’m back, i can never say enough about railroads, their arrogant and ignorant clowns. i live in new west’r b.c. on river drive next to bc southern rails shunting yard. we know they have a job to do but not at the cost of our health. smoking vibrating excessive loud worn out engines or whatever the problem is. there are several engines spewing outrageous smoke, i have contacted every possible persons in charge of these problems but they pass the buck, fire these clowns and hire someone who will do the job. metro vancouver passed a offroad diesel emissions bylaw in 2012, they came to my house and we can’t do anything, DUH! what are they getting paid to do. further about bells and whistles off and more on all night long how do they plan on stopping when blowing and ringing at the intersection within a few hundred feet or less not one quarter mile as required by law. we also live on a deadend street, it’s a laugh, there should be a massive revolt and blockade for as long as it takes until they have a little courtesy. people do have to go to work in the a.m. kids go to school need their sleep. don’t stand on the tracks and stop the train, you will be arrested and charged for mischief, yet run a red light passing on the right and kill someone and get absolutely nothing. the whole system is ******.

    • trainjane permalink

      It appears that The World Health Organization has now issued an even more critical warning about human exposure to air pollution, citing it as a direct cause of certain forms of cancer. What is needed, in my opinion, is recognition of diesel emissions as a human health hazard, and in so, protecting the public by addressing and limiting open-air diesel engine idling. Regulating emissions is not enough…the health consequences need to be recognized formally and tied in with emission-reduction strategies.

  3. Andrew permalink

    Even us rail activists have been bringing up safety isses for years! (The video is in French & English) http://www.assnat.qc.ca/fr/video-audio/AudioVideo-37031.html

  4. Fires such as those experienced in Lac Megantic and Gainford seem rather obvious as to cause compared to fires along intensely arid portions of the rail system here in BC where citizens calling attention to such fires are out on a limb when it comes to pointing the finger at railways. At least that was the case recently when I was quoted in the Kamloops Daily News as the source of allegations that four fires near Spences Bridge last summer were sparked by trains. Given a history of denial by both railways as to them being the cause of similar fires along this stretch of track, I was therefore glad to have received confirmation of my assertion back from Ian Douglas, Senior Protection Officer of the Wildfire Management Branch of the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. In an email dated September 17, 2013, Ian assured me that “the Kamloops Fire Centre is currently investigating the fires that occurred in and around Spence’s Bridge area last summer. The fires that were discussed during your community meeting were all railway caused incidents.”

    The community meeting Ian speaks of is the one referred to in the above article and which took place Sept.3, 2013. It was an OPEN meeting, initiated by local residents calling together ALL stakeholders, including both CN and CP railways. Both cancelled their attendance at the last moment but indicated that they would attend a meeting called by elected political representatives. Such a meeting has since been called by Ron Storie, Manager of Community Services for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

    The meeting (CLOSED AT THE REQUEST OF THE RAILWAYS) will take place in the Spences Bridge Community Hall on November 5th at 1 PM. As related by Mr. Storie, “The intent of this meeting is to further discuss the current concerns with the railroad/wildfire etc (agenda will be forwarded when finished). This is very important subject matter, so our thoughts are to have yourself and five other key members of the community in attendance. The reason for this is so we can utilize the time we have as effectively and efficiently as possible by staying focussed on the concerns at hand.

    The agenda forwarded by the TNRD is as follows:

    AGENDA
    Emergency Management Meeting Chair Steve Rice
    1. Jurisdictions Rail, TSB, Transport Canada, WMB, MOTI, EMBC, TNRD, SB Improvement District / VFD
    2. Emergency Management Issues re
    Interface Fires, (rail legislation as it relates to TC and WMB // CWPP’s – lack of crown interface but opportunity for FN)
    Agreements – fuel management railway / wmb?
    Plans – TNRD CN CP WMB EMBC MOE TC SBFD SBID FN All Hazard // Practice
    Dangerous Goods
    3. Rail Speed, Whistle Blowing

    We are looking at 20 people
    And from 1300 hrs to about 1500 hrs
    ___________________________________________

    Stay tuned…..

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Dwayne,
      It’s a positive development that the Kamloops Fire Centre has further confirmed that the railway was indeed the source of the multiple fires that you identified in your area this past summer. Here’s a question for the meeting: in the case of a derailment such as what recently took place in Gainsford, Alberta, how would the railways handle a similar crisis in Spences Bridge or the surrounding area? The option of intentionally burning off the remainder of petroleum-based freight products is not likely going to work during your dry months there…It’s also encouraging to see the Feds giving the issue of liability coverage for railways further consideration. Hope you can update us after the meeting.

      • Hi trainjane,

        I wish I could report a really positive outcome to our meeting but in my humble opinion, the format provided little in the way of meaningful dialogue. Residents were left with little comfort or assurance from both railways that their fire concerns are significant or that they will be addressed in the various ways we have suggested.

        The supposed “closed” meeting ballooned from an expected 20 people to more than 30 and included a wide variety of agency representatives virtually all of whom but one (First Nations) were focused on emergency management, rather than on prevention which has been our emphasis as residents.

        I am sorry, but I was unable to field your question in the short time allotted me. It seems clear, however, that given the conditions that exist in the canyon, a major tanker fire would be very, very difficult to contain.

        I was, however , able to get an affirmative response from the railways regarding the possibility of an alliance with our local fire chief Arnie Oram in order to fulfill the obligation railways have to create plans including proposed fire prevention measures. ( See item 3.1.4 of Rules For The Control and Prevention of Fires On Railway Rights-of-Way on the Transport Canada website).

        http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/rules-tce06-359.htm

        A recent article in the Kamloops Daily News provides more information about our meeting:

        http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/article/20131105/KAMLOOPS0101/131109925/-1/kamloops01/spences-bridge-residents-air-concerns-over-railway-fires

      • Andrew permalink

        Trainjane, how come you are not asking yourself why there isn’t any proper public funding/protection for railways in Canada as there is for roads, airports & canals?

        I’m a public transit activist, I defend rail as a mode.
        I don’t defend Wall Street/Bay Street crooks.

        • trainjane permalink

          And therein lays the problem, Andrew. This blog is not about promoting public transit. Please stay on topic.

  5. With regard to the Nov.5, 2013 closed meeting with CN and CP Railways cited above, which took place in Spences Bridge, BC, the following meeting notes have been supplied by chair, Ron Storie, Thompson Nicola Regional District. Ron has granted permission to share same with anyone interested:

    November 5th Train related emergency issues in Spences Bridge (1300-1530 hrs)

    Attendees:

    CN Emily Hamer/Francois Boucher/Mark McKay/Peter Sampson
    First Nation Cooks Ferry Chief David Walkem FNESS Brent Langois
    Village of Lytton Jessoa Lightfoot/Andrew Fandrich
    CP Rick Poznikoff
    WMB Harry Spahan/Kim Janowsky/Verne Rasmussen/Scott Rennick/ Ian Douglas
    Residents Peter Demetrie/Hank Klynsoon/ Dwayne Rourke/Carolynne Terry/Dorthy Miller/Barbara Butterwick/Pat Jackson/R Woodward/Moe Linneberg/Jean Burgess
    Spences Bridge Improvement District Fire Department: Arnie Oram
    Transport Canada: Jim Horbay Dave/ Eldridge
    TNRD EA Director Steve Rice, Staff Jason Tomlin, Ron Storie
    Background this meeting was a follow-up to the September 3rd meeting in Spences Bridge in the effort to provide residents with more education around Emergency Management Issues specific to rail and potential interface fire concerns.

    There is no one stop organization to provide emergency services across BC. This list below is just a short summary of those who have some jurisdiction regarding November 5th’ discussion regarding rail incidents.

    JURISDICTIONS

    Rail: CN and CP are federally regulated rail service providers under the Legislation of Transport Canada.

    They jointly co-share a rail line in the Spences Bridge Area. http://www.cn.ca/ http://www.cpr.ca

    Transport Canada (Federal Regulator): Ensuring air, marine, rail and road safety, as well as the safe transportation of dangerous goods, is a huge task. Transport Canada develops and enforces safety regulations and standards; tests and promotes safety technologies; and is introducing safety management systems as a reliable and cost-effective way to prevent and manage safety risks in all modes of transportation. http://www.tc.gc.ca/

    Transport Safety Board (Federal Agency): The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is an independent agency that advances transportation safety by investigating occurrences in the marine, pipeline, rail and air modes of transportation. Provides reports and recommendations of emergency incident investigations to public. http://www.tsb.gc.ca

    Emergency Management BC (EMBC): Was previously PEP, support local governments in emergency management when local governments exceed their capacity. EMBC also notifies other agencies of the incident. Legislated under the Emergency Program Act and Emergency Management Program Regulation. http://www.embc.gov.bc.ca
    
    November 5th Train related emergency issues in Spences Bridge (1300-1530 hrs)
    Wildfire Management Branch (WMB): Fuels Management Specialist on Provincial Crown lands that provide fire response and prevention activities. http://bcwildfire.ca/
    Ministry of Environment: The Environmental Emergency Program fulfills its function through shared stewardship of our environment with other provincial agencies, industry, local government, federal government, and other stakeholders. The program is comprised of:
    • a headquarters component located in Victoria,
    • 16 Environmental Emergency Response Officers strategically deployed around the province who
    provide assessment, guidance, and direction in the event of an emergency,
    • One Provincial Incident Management Teams made up of response officers and other
    government personnel who possess specialized incident management skills, and
    • a cadre of Technical Specialists from within the ministry who may be called upon to provide
    incident specific knowledge and expertise as needed.
    http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/eemp/

    Cooks Ferry First Nation: Local government for the Cooks Ferry Indian Band. Responsible for their own emergency management planning. http://www.bcafn.ca/files/fn-cooks-ferry.php

    FNESS: First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of British Columbia (FNESS) is incorporated under the Society Act of British Columbia. Our mission is to assist First Nations in developing and sustaining safer and healthier communities by providing the programs and services consisting of fire management, emergency management and fuels management. http://fness.bc.ca/

    Spences Bridge Improvement District / Fire Department (SBVFD): Improvement District is a form of local government responsible for providing local services for the benefit of the residents in the Spences Bridge community. One of these functions is the Fire Department which is responsible to fight fires in their fire protection area. http://www.cscd.gov.bc.ca/lgd/pathfinder-id.htm

    TNRD: The TNRD emergency program will provide the direction and coordination required to recover from major emergencies or disasters in the rural (i.e. electoral) areas of the TNRD. The TNRD does not respond to emergencies. Technical assistance, direction and training will also be given to sub-regional emergency response teams in defined areas of the Regional District. The TNRD emergency program is in place to assist incident commanders when emergencies exceed their response capabilities, training or available resources. http://www.tnrd.ca/
    It should be noted that not all emergency agencies were invited to this table because the current discussions around rail and fire issues were outside the scope of their respective agencies / organization. Agencies/ organizations not invited were the RCMP, BCAS, Emergency Support Services, Search & Rescue, Highway Rescue and Civil Air Search and Rescue
    
    EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

    Interface fires

    If a fire occurs in fire protection area (FPA), SBVFD responds.
    If the fire is outside their FPA, they may respond but would inform WMB of their activities. If the fire is beyond the SBVFD capacity, WMB will assume lead.Should evacuations occur, they will be done: tactically by the RCMP or Fire Department (get out of your home right away); legislatively, by creating an order to have people evacuate from their home or by common sense if your house burning, you should get out.

    Community Engagement

    The community can become aware of the TNRD all hazard Emergency Plan. Pay careful attention regarding what residents should do if an emergency occurs. https://tnrd.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=4834

    It was clearly stated that it is not just the utilities and crowns responsibility to mitigate the potential of fire; it is also a landowner’s responsibility. Reducing this hazard can be achieved by following the Fire Smart principles on your property http://bcwildfire.ca/Prevention/firesmart.htm
    Get involved with a volunteer organization like Emergency Support Services ESS, the Fire Department, Search and Rescue, or Highway Rescue.

    Community Wildfire Protection Plans

    The TNRD investigated the possibility of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan within its jurisdiction – land treated can only be on crown and must meet the definition of potential interface. Upon investigation, the majority of land TNRD believed impacted in the interface is private (homeowners or rail right of way) which appears to preclude the opportunity for CWPP funding.

    It was clearly stated that it is not just the utilities and crowns responsibility to mitigate the potential of fire; it is also a landowner’s responsibility. Reducing this hazard can be achieved by following the Fire Smart principles on your property http://bcwildfire.ca/Prevention/firesmart.htm
    Under the regulation of Transport Canada, carriers must adhere to the Rules for the Control and prevention of Fires on Railway Rights-of-Way http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/rules-tce06-359.htm for fuels management on the rail right of way.

    Upon question about what fuel management is occurring, CN stated that fuels were being chemically sprayed and not removed. CP suggested they would have to check with their Environmental Branch to see what was being done.
    
    Agreements

    WMB suggested that they have a good working relationship with both CN and CP. CN and CP are required to meet with WMB yearly regarding their grinding plans. It was suggested that grinding, may be the cause of some local area fires. WMB suggested that a fuels management agreement (removal of vegetation) was previously in place with CN / CP. WMB stated that in the absence of agreements, grinding falls under provincial legislation. As such, rail providers are responsible to maintain the rail right of way patrol lines. The question was raised about the opportunity to reopen this agreement. Moving forward, discussions were likely to occur in the future.

    SBVFD committed to work and coordinate with TC and WMB to provide some specific area burning within Spences Bridge in the 2014 fiscal.

    Dangerous goods initial response

    When an emergency incident occurs (assume by rail within the Spences Bridge Fire Protection area) the fire department will most likely be the first to respond. As an example, If the incident was a 3 car derailment, of which a spill of dangerous goods were to occur, the train would stop, the crew would assess the incident by walking the length of the train. Once confirmed by the train consist (each car number identifying the product it carries), the crew would notify the Rail Traffic Control (RTC), who would in turn contact the closest first responders requesting a response. The rail carrier would also be alerting TC and EMBC to the spill who in turn would be alerting other agencies like MOE Spill Response and the TNRD. When the responders were on site they alternately would assess the risk to the responder health and safety, then public health and safety and work with the railway to mitigate what they have training for. If this spill exceeded their capacity, larger agencies are brought in to manage public safety and the hazard.

    ERG 2012
    http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/canutec/guide-menu-227.htm

    Rail Speeds and whistle blowing complaints

    Train speeds are not like driving a care and driving over or under the speed limit. The speeds are set so a complex train schedule allows trains coming and going over a 24 / 7 basis. Therefore train speeds must be obeyed.

    It was suggested that done correctly, the train must whistle completely until out of the crossing. As an example, enforcement would be considered when whistling was not done at all or done improperly, when it is mandatory to whistle.

    Residents can document what they deem to be rail infractions and send them to the rail carriers for their response with careful documentation of location, date, and time of infraction,

    Colborn Road Whistle Cessation Petition

    (CN 1 888 888 5909 contact@cn.ca )
    (CP 1 800 766 7912 community_connect@cpr.ca )
    
    Whistle Cessation is in part the responsibility of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), the rail carrier and local government at the given location in the TNRD. Currently, there is no formal rail crossing equipment at Coburn Rd and the tracks (no Flashing Lights Bells and Gates FLB&G). Without this infrastructure, there is no possibility of obtaining year round whistle cessation at this location. This infrastructure runs upwards of $250,000 at crossings. See Warning Systems Required Where Whistling Is To Be Eliminated:
    http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/guideline-287.htm

    In emergencies, train whistling at any location will occur at any time.
    Another option to eliminate whistling was suggested by the re-route of a road across private lands to the Murray FSR, North of the highway. This option is not recommended as it would incur high road construction and right of way costs that would be born by the taxpayer. Likely there would not be an appetite for this from MOTI for public safety issues due to the cliffs that would be directly above the shoulder of the road.

    An additional option to eliminate whistling was suggested by changing the public crossing access at Colborn and the tracks to a private crossing. As discussed with MOTI this is not an option as the current road accesses private and crown properties.

    ACTION ITEMS

    • WMB, CN/CP & SBVFD to discuss strategies around fuel management on rail right-away • SBVFD to hold a recruitment meeting for ESS
    

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