In an attempt to crack down on older rail tank cars that are more vulnerable in an accident, Transport Canada has released a series of actions to improve rail safety.
The new federal directives were announced on April 23, 2014 as a response to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s initial recommendations around the ongoing investigation into the Lac-Mégantic train derailment. The directives tackle train speed and durability, as well as emergency response planning and actions.
Transport Canada has issued a Protective Direction to remove the least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars from dangerous goods service. Other DOT-111 tank cars used to transport crude oil and ethanol that “do not meet the standard published in January 2014 in Canada Gazette, Part I, or any other future standard, [are] to be phased out or refitted within three years,” the department stated.
When rail cars are carrying dangerous or hazardous goods, Transport Canada wants rail companies to use slower rail speeds to boost safety.
“The measures I am announcing today improve the safety of the railway and transportation of dangerous goods systems from coast to coast to coast,” said Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt, as she released the measures.
Raitt’s announcement also addresses the need for more Emergency Response Assistance Plans for crude oil, gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, and ethanol.
To strengthen emergency response, the federal department said it also wants to create a task force that brings together stakeholders such as municipalities, first responders, railways and shippers.