Posts Tagged ‘Transport Canada’

Fatigue at CP threatens rail safety

cp-logo-240The CBC News reported that Transport Canada recently ordered Canadian Pacific Railway to change its fatigue-management practices and freight train line-ups in British Columbia since they pose “an immediate threat to safe railway operations.” 

Read the entire article here.

Canadian Safe and Accountable Rail Act made law

Ottawa, Ontario – To enhance railway safety and make the rail industry and crude oil shippers more accountable to Canadians, the Honorable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, announced that the Safe and Accountable Rail Act has received Royal Assent.

“I am so pleased to see these important amendments come into force. Raising standards for rail safety and accountability is a great example of how the Government of Canada is protecting taxpayers and safeguarding the communities along our country’s rail corridors,” Raitt said.

This Act amends the Canada Transportation Act to strengthen the liability and compensation regime for federally regulated railways through enhanced insurance requirements and a supplemental compensation fund financed by levies on crude oil shippers. It also amends the Railway Safety Act to increase information-sharing provisions and provide stronger oversight powers for the Minister and Transport Canada inspectors.

The new liability and compensation regime under the Canada Transportation Act will be brought into force in one year. The new regime aligns with updates the Government of Canada is making to the liability and compensation regimes in other sectors of transport, including for marine tankers and oil pipelines. It is based on the “polluter pays” principle and makes railways and shippers responsible for the cost of accidents, protecting taxpayers and communities by ensuring that adequate resources are available to compensate victims and pay for environmental clean-up.

The Safe and Accountable Rail Act makes the following changes:

  • Federal railway companies must obtain and maintain legislated minimum levels of insurance, based on the type and volume of dangerous goods they carry, ranging from $25 million to $1 billion.
  • A supplementary shipper-financed fund will provide compensation to victims and pay for environmental clean-up in the event that a railway accident involving crude oil exceeds the amount of insurance held by the railway. Companies will have to pay $1.65 per tonne of crude oil they ship by rail.
  • Amendments to the Railway Safety Act broaden the powers of the Minister and inspectors to order railway companies and others to take specified measures or stop any activity in the interest of safe railway operations.

Lac-Megantic: Lawyers want charges dropped

MONTREAL – The union and lawyers representing two railway employees accused in the Lac-Megantic disaster are urging the Crown to drop the charges in light of recent findings by the Transportation Safety Board.

Engineer Tom Harding, railway traffic controller Richard Labrie and Jean Demaitre, the manager of train operations, each face 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death – one for each victim of last summer’s oil-train derailment in the Quebec town.

Read the complete Canadian Press story at DurhamRegion.com.

Canada eyes PTC following disaster

After the recent disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is looking at possibly implementing positive train control (PTC) systems on its railroads.

In 2010 and 2012, two major train derailments have been linked to trainmen not following signal indications. The incident in 2010 at Saint-Charles-de-Bellechase, Quebec, only caused injuries and property damage, while the 2012 incident in Burlington, Ont., caused the deaths of three engineers.

In both cases, it was found that the trains were traveling at excessive speeds while switching tracks, having missed or misinterpreted signals.

Director of TSB rail and pipeline investigations Kirby Jang explains, “In Canada, we have a system called centralized traffic control, which provides visual signals, but there is no automated stopping or slowing of trains if the train crew were to exceed the limits of their authority.

“We believe that there’s a risk of serious train collisions and derailments if rail signals are not consistently recognized and followed. Really, what we’re trying to advocate is that further safety defenses should be implemented to ensure that signal indications of operating speed or operating limits are consistently recognized and followed. That’s a key finding and recommendation out of Burlington,” Jang said.

According to Jang, there are ongoing discussions about PTC systems, which would automatically reduce a train’s speed if it were moving too fast. The TSB is also looking at placing video and voice recording systems inside the cabs of locomotives as a source of data in the event of another derailment or train disaster like the one in Lac-Mégantic.

The TSB can only make recommendations to Transport Canada; it is then up to Transport Canada to decide whether or not they want to act on the recommendations made by the TSB.

Canada Bans One-Man Crews On Hazmat Trains

transport-canada-logoOTTAWA — Transport Canada July 23 announced an emergency directive pursuant to section 33 of the Railway Safety Act to increase rail safety, banning one-man crews on trains hauling one or more cars loaded with hazardous materials.

Although the cause of the accident in Lac-Mégantic remains unknown at this time, Transport Canada is moving forward to build upon the safety advisories received last Friday from the Transportation Safety Board and further enhance existing safe railway operations and the security of railway transportation.

Effective immediately, the emergency directive requires all rail operators to:

Ensure that no locomotive attached to one or more loaded tank cars transporting dangerous goods is operated with fewer than two qualified persons on a main track or sidings;

Ensure that no locomotive attached to one or more loaded tank cars transporting dangerous goods is left unattended on a main track;

Ensure, within five days of the issuance of the directive, that all unattended controlling locomotives on a main track and sidings are protected from unauthorized entry into the cab;

Ensure the directional controls, commonly known as reversers, are removed from any unattended locomotives, preventing them from moving forward or backward, on a main track or sidings;

Ensure that their company’s special instructions on hand brakes are applied to any locomotive attached to one or more cars that is left unattended for more than one hour on a main track or sidings;

Ensure that, in addition to complying with their company’s special instructions on hand brakes referred to in the item immediately above, the automatic brake is set in full service position and the independent brake is fully applied for any locomotive attached to one or more cars that are left unattended for one hour or less on a main track or sidings.

The safety of Canadians is Transport Canada’s top priority. The department is committed to working with the rail industry to examining any other means of improving rail safety.

Transport Canada has been in contact with the railway industry, and in particular with CN, CP and the Railway Association of Canada (RAC), to work together to promote the continued safety of Canada’s rail system.

The majority of railways maintain a culture of safety and security, as shown by the notable decline in derailments and train accidents over the past few years.

Transport Canada inspectors will continue to work in cooperation with the Transportation Safety Board as it conducts its investigation.

Transport Canada inspectors are at Lac-Mégantic determining whether there has been non-compliance with regulatory requirements.

Railway safety regulations exist to ensure the safety and protection of the public. If these regulations were not followed, the department will not hesitate to take action.

Transport Canada is responsible for transportation policies and programs. It promotes safe, secure, efficient and environmentally-responsible transportation. Transport Canada reports to Parliament and Canadians through the minister of Transport. It works with its portfolio partners, other government departments and jurisdictions, and industry to ensure that all parts of Canada’s transportation system work well.

The complete release, along with Related Items, can be found here.

Canada toughens train rules after disaster

Canadian transportation authorities banned one-man crews for trains with dangerous goods Tuesday, responding to calls for tougher regulations after an oil train derailment in Quebec killed 47 people.

Transport Canada also said trains with dangerous goods will not be allowed to be left unattended on a main track. Hand brakes must be applied to trains left one hour or more.

Read the complete story a the Bismarck Tribune.

Canada bans one-man crews on hazmat trains

transport-canada-logoOTTAWA — Transport Canada July 23 announced an emergency directive pursuant to section 33 of the Railway Safety Act to increase rail safety, banning one-man crews on trains hauling one or more cars loaded with hazardous materials.

Although the cause of the accident in Lac-Mégantic remains unknown at this time, Transport Canada is moving forward to build upon the safety advisories received last Friday from the Transportation Safety Board and further enhance existing safe railway operations and the security of railway transportation.

Effective immediately, the emergency directive requires all rail operators to:

  • Ensure that no locomotive attached to one or more loaded tank cars transporting dangerous goods is operated with fewer than two qualified persons on a main track or sidings;
  • Ensure that no locomotive attached to one or more loaded tank cars transporting dangerous goods is left unattended on a main track;
  • Ensure, within five days of the issuance of the directive, that all unattended controlling locomotives on a main track and sidings are protected from unauthorized entry into the cab;
  • Ensure the directional controls, commonly known as reversers, are removed from any unattended locomotives, preventing them from moving forward or backward, on a main track or sidings;
  • Ensure that their company’s special instructions on hand brakes are applied to any locomotive attached to one or more cars that is left unattended for more than one hour on a main track or sidings;
  • Ensure that, in addition to complying with their company’s special instructions on hand brakes referred to in the item immediately above, the automatic brake is set in full service position and the independent brake is fully applied for any locomotive attached to one or more cars that are left unattended for one hour or less on a main track or sidings.

The safety of Canadians is Transport Canada’s top priority. The department is committed to working with the rail industry to examining any other means of improving rail safety.

Transport Canada has been in contact with the railway industry, and in particular with CN, CP and the Railway Association of Canada (RAC), to work together to promote the continued safety of Canada’s rail system.

The majority of railways maintain a culture of safety and security, as shown by the notable decline in derailments and train accidents over the past few years.

Transport Canada inspectors will continue to work in cooperation with the Transportation Safety Board as it conducts its investigation.

Transport Canada inspectors are at Lac-Mégantic determining whether there has been non-compliance with regulatory requirements.

Railway safety regulations exist to ensure the safety and protection of the public. If these regulations were not followed, the department will not hesitate to take action.

Transport Canada is responsible for transportation policies and programs. It promotes safe, secure, efficient and environmentally-responsible transportation. Transport Canada reports to Parliament and Canadians through the minister of Transport. It works with its portfolio partners, other government departments and jurisdictions, and industry to ensure that all parts of Canada’s transportation system work well.

The complete release, along with Related Items, can be found here.

Transport Canada recommends ‘voluntary’ recorders

Transport Canada recommends ‘voluntary’ recorders in trains

Transport Canada is leaving it up to rail companies to decide whether to install video and audio recorders in locomotives, despite a decade of recommendations by accident investigators to install the devices.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said in 2003 that recorders, which serve a similar function as black boxes in airplanes, should be installed to better determine what happened in locomotives in the event of accidents. The issue came to the forefront again following the VIA Rail derailment in Burlington, Ont., in February, 2012.

Read the complete story at The Globe and Mail.