The federal NDP wants to force rail companies to tell cities if dangerous or toxic goods are being hauled through town - and it's an idea that's getting some traction in Sudbury.

For now, city officials are out of the loop on what might be rolling though downtown Sudbury. NDP infrastructure critic Olivia Chow said that's got to change.

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The NDP are asking foir mandatory disclosure from rail companies if dangerous or toxic chemicals like crude oil are being shipped through cities. (Supplied)

"There's no reason why the mayor in Sudbury would not know what kind of dangerous goods are being transported and shipped across town," she said.

Chow and NDP leader Tom Mulcair were in Sudbury Wednesday on a rail safety message track.

Along with increased government inspections of trains and rail infrastructure, they're calling for mandatory disclosure to cities if dangerous or toxic chemicals like crude oil are being shipped through a municipality.

Sudbury NDP MP Glenn Thibeault said that kind of information flow has to come before tackling aging rail infrastructure.

"It's difficult to change a line," he said. "But knowing that information ... we can start that today."

For Sudbury's first responders in case of a disaster like the one in in Lac Megantic, Que., such information could be very important.

According to Statistics Canada, rail shipments of oil in Canada have more than doubled - going from about 6,000 train carloads in 2009 to about 14,000 thousand so far this year.

Sudbury city councillor Joe Cimino said Sudburians are also worried because the rail line in Sudbury runs next to Ramsey Lake.

"If that type of massive explosion and chemical spill could happen, pretty well in the center of a town, similar to where our track runs through, what would happen if there was a derailment and our water source was contaminated," Cimino asked. "That [water] source is gone. What would happen?"