Proposed rail safety measures concern Greater Sudbury residents

New rail safety measures are raising more questions than answers for some in the Sudbury region.
New rail safety measures are raising some questions in Sudbury.

New rail safety measures are raising more questions than answers for some in the Sudbury region.

The regulations announced yesterday are aimed at preventing another deadly derailment such as the one in Lac Megantic last summer, when 47 people were killed after a train carrying oil derailed and exploded in the town.

Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said rail companies must develop emergency plans to help local fire fighters and emergency crews — for all rail shipments of crude oil, gasoline, ethanol and other flammable liquids.

But Markstay-Warren Mayor Sonja Flynn wondered if that includes her rural municipality.

“Where will this training take place? Will it be small communities along the rail line or large centres? Will all of our own first responders and fire teams be trained?”

Flynn said she also worries about contamination of the Veuve River, along which the rail line runs parallel.

'Fluid' situation

The government is ordering a three-year phase-out of thousands of older tanker cars.

Sudbury rail enthusiast Dale Wilson said he doesn't think factories can make new ones fast enough.

Wilson says taking that many tankers out of service at once will likely reduce the amount of petroleum getting to market.

“You've got to slow down shipment which, of course, will mean higher prices all around and companies that sell the oil [will be] making a whole lot less money,” he said.

“This is going to be a fluid situation. We'll likely see further changes again.”

Wilson advocates moving the rail yards out of downtown Sudbury to protect the water supply. 

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