With a final report out on last summer's train derailment and explosion in Quebec, Saskatoon’s fire chief is raising his own concerns about rail safety.
The Lac-Mégantic report is calling for additional safety measures to prevent runaway trains, as well as more thorough audits of safety management systems.
Dan Paulsen, Saskatoon's fire chief, believes neighbourhoods like Montgomery are at risk, because so many trains pass through and emergency routes could be blocked by trains.
“Probabilities state that the more times you have an interaction the potential does exist,” Paulsen warned.
Fire department releases new response plan
That’s why the fire department has worked hard on a new plan to try and make sure there’s always a way for emergency vehicles to get into neighbourhoods when they are needed.
“We will be dispatching apparatus from three separate stations, four apparatus, through four separate routes and whichever finds that it's the clearer route in, they will advise the others by radio traffic. “
At the same time, Paulsen said, the new plan likely won’t be enough. The fire chief believes that new infrastructure; things like overpasses will have to be built to ensure safety.
Mayor wants trains out of city
Saskatoon’s mayor Don Atchison has repeatedly challenged the railways.
Atchison said he's pleased that a number of safety measures have already been implemented, but he would ultimately like to see trains routed around the city.
"People in Saskatoon overall would like to see the tracks moved out of the centre of the City of Saskatoon," Atchison said. "The problem with that is it's not free. It's hundreds of millions of dollars to do so and the rail companies have said in the past they're willing to move if we're willing to pay."
Atchison said a major safety accomplishment after the Quebec disaster was the the ordering of the most dangerous tanker cars off the rails or retrofitted within three years.
In the future, Atchison is hoping for help from the federal and provincial governments to get rail lines routed around the city.