Rail safety recommendations expected in Lac-Mégantic report
Officials in Saint John, Rothesay worry about train traffic, hope for tougher inspection rules
Municipal officials in New Brunswick are among those waiting for the Transportation Safety Board's final report into last summer's train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, expected Tuesday.
On July 6, 2013, a runaway train travelling downhill derailed, burst into flames, and caused several explosions, killing 47 people.
The train was carrying oil destined for the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John. Given the destination of the train, and a derailment early this year in Plaster Rock, the report's findings will be closely reviewed in this New Brunswick.
Saint John city councillor Gerry Lowe says he's seen an increase in rail cars travelling through the city.
"It's just unbelievable the number of cars you see and these train cars are carrying different things all the time and naturally it's dangerous," said Lowe.
He said he's witnessed changes in response to last summer's derailment in Quebec.
"I see them replacing the rails here all the time, they're trying to make it safer, so if they're trying to make it safter it's quite obvious that it wasn't safe before," Lowe said.
Rothesay's Deputy Mayor, Nancy Grant, hopes the TSB report will lead to the stronger guidelines.
"What about numbers of inspectors for dangerous good tankers, and the inspections process and the standards for crews and scheduling standards and enforcement of regulation? I'm hoping some of this will be addressed," she said.
Grant, who is also part of the city's rail committee, said she would also like the report to recommend more input from local municipalities.
"The transportation minister directed that a risk assessment be done of high priority communities, such as ours and our committee is very interested in this," Grant said.
She said the committee prepared an interim report that recommended regional risk assessment.
"But we don't have any specifics and we don't have a framework for this. So I'm hoping that's going to come out of the report," said Grant.
Earlier this year, three TSB recommendations were accepted by Transport Canada, including phasing out and retrofitting older tank cars and introducing new speed restrictions.
The final report is expected at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.