Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he has met with Canadian Pacific Railway officials to talk about how to fix what’s been a troubled relationship.
That issue came to a head earlier this month when a CP train carrying petroleum products derailed as it left the Aylth Yard in southeast Calgary.
There were no leaks or injuries, but more than 140 homes were evacuated.
But there was confusion during the first response as crews waited to find out what was inside the tankers.
In June the mayor lashed out at CP after its Bonnybrook rail bridge buckled, leaving six derailed cars stranded on the sagging track.
Nenshi said the city's relationship with CP is part of the problem, something both sides agreed to fix.
“It’s probably been the most difficult corporate relationship I’ve had to manage during my time as mayor,” he said.
“We committed to having a better, more open relationship, opening up lines of dialogue and really having conversations on how we move forward together.”
Nenshi said it will take federal action to improve how shipments are tracked and to quicken first response when accidents happen.
The current paper-based system is totally out of date, with a cumbersome process for determining what’s in a particular rail car, he said.
“It requires phoning the shipper, getting them to dig up the material safety data sheet, emailing or faxing it over,” he said.
“In this day and age, a first responder should be able to pick up their smart phone, type in the serial number on the side of the car, and immediately know what’s in that car.”