Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

One-man crews on trains banned

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TORONTO -- Canadian transportation authorities banned one-man crews for trains carrying 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. Handbrakes must be applied to trains left one hour or more.

The July 6 tragedy occurred when a runaway train carrying 72 carloads of crude derailed, hurtled down an incline and slammed into downtown Lac-M©gantic. Several train cars exploded and 40 buildings were levelled. The unattended Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway train had been parked overnight before it came loose.

"The disaster brought to light several industry practices which have caused some concern," Gerard McDonald, assistant deputy minister of safety and security at Transport Canada, said. "We thought it would be prudent to implement these measures now."

Transport Canada says the cause of the derailment remains unknown. Canada's Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the accident, had asked for changes in regulations governing rail traffic.

Transport Canada also is giving rail operators five days to ensure nobody without authorization can enter the cab of unattended locomotives on a main track or sidings.

Meanwhile, the town of Lac-M©gantic is taking legal action against Montreal, Maine & Atlantic. Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche said the company has not yet paid workers it hired to clean up the crude oil that leaked from tanker cars. She said the town paid the workers $4 million after some threatened to walk off the job. Lawyers have been asked to inform the company it must reimburse the money immediately, she said.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 24, 2013 B8

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