With train-related emergencies in the news, safety is on the minds of many who pause to consider the tracks that run through the heart of Sudbury’s downtown.
The city of Sudbury's emergency co-ordinator said the train that derailed in Quebec likely passed though Sudbury.
"Maybe not [through] the downtown core, but certainly within the Greater Sudbury boundaries," Lynn Fortin said.
Railway buff and retired teacher Dale Wilson said he'd feel better if the railway tracks carrying oil tankers were re-routed from drinking water sources
"[Moving] the tracks away from Lake Ramsey … would be a good start to the kind of disaster that happened in Megantic," Wilson said.
He added there has been a huge increase in the number of oil tankers coming through Sudbury because rail is cheaper than using pipelines.
Firefighters at the ready
The Sudbury fire department is trained to deal with hazardous materials and Fire Chief Dan Stack said his firefighters have the same level of preparedness as any other community.
At one point, the fire service aimed for a higher level of training — but determined it wasn’t practical "and … very costly."
"You're looking at a minimum of 40 hours per guy … [and] at 500 firefighters across the city you'd have to provide about 40 hours of training yearly," Stack said.
Firefighters are trained to set up perimeters and evacuate areas in case of an emergency, he noted, but actual leaks are dealt with by experts from the rail companies.
"[We] make sure the perimeters are safe for all people within that perimeter area," Stack said.
"If we have to evacuate, we can assist police in evacuation and setting parameters."