Port Hawkesbury railway line safety worries councillor
Railway cars are frequently left unattended in the town, Joe Janega claims
A town councillor in Port Hawkesbury is raising questions about the safety of the railway line that runs through the town after recent train derailments in Quebec and New Brunswick.
Joe Janega went to a council meeting this week armed with photos of 16 rail cars that he said are frequently stored along the town's waterfront.
Officials from the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway were at the meeting to talk about rail safety and assured him those cars are always empty.
But Janega isn't convinced.
"Nice and easy to say. Just the fact that there is a propane tank may be empty or partially empty is of no risk or potential? I have serious questions about that," he said.
Janega, who is a structural engineer, also has photos of a nearby rail bridge that he said shows signs of wear and tear.
"This is only one structure of - I believe it's somewhere around 245 miles of track this company has. I'm certainly not laying the blame on the company. They only inherited the business in the last short while," he said.
"But for us to say that everything is copacetic and satisfactory, I have serious questions and serious doubts."
Janega wants assurances the railway line is properly maintained.
Rail officials said they will return to council in a few weeks with a detailed response.
Shannon Toner, the general manager of the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway, said the company wants to put any concerns to rest.
"Safety is first before anything else," she said.
"We don't store cars in Port Hawkesbury, we store cars in Havre Boucher yard on our dangerous tracks. There are no loaded cars stored in Port Hawekesbury."
Toner said the rail company is planning to meet with other municipal councils that border the railway line to address their concerns about safety.
In the meantime, Janega wants Transport Canada to review railway lines across Canada, especially in rural areas, to make sure residents are protected.