The mayor of Thunder Bay says he wants to see dangerous goods shipped on a rail line that bypasses the city rather than cut right through its middle.

Statement from CP rail about how it will update its safety procedures:

  • If it is necessary to leave a train unattended outside a terminal or yard, the locomotive will now be locked. This occurred already in some high-risk locations, but it will now be formally applied across the network.
  • Train brake-setting procedures have been strengthened to meet or exceed all regulations regarding brake setting.
  • All trains with tank cars containing regulated commodities will not be left unattended on main line tracks.

While Keith Hobbs said he welcomes the news that Canadian Pacific and Canadian National are tightening safety standards — including locking the locomotive anytime a train is left unattended outside a terminal or yard — he said re-routing trains would be even safer.

"It would be very expensive but ... can we afford another incident like happened in Quebec? I don't think so," Hobbs said.

"Those are disasters waiting to happen and, if people only knew what went through our city, they'd be a little alarmed."

Hobbs said the city's emergency services are trained to deal with disasters after the fact. It's time to be pro-active, not just reactive, he added.

Railway safety also needs to be discussed by city council, adding that what happened in Quebec "has really taught us something … I think this is a prime example of a disaster that could have been avoided."

CP reported it will also strengthen its brake-setting procedures and that cars carrying materials, such as light crude oil, will not be left unattended on main line train tracks.

"The safe operation of Canadian Pacific and ensuring the safety of our employees and the communities we operate through ... remain a focus for CP, and this will never change," said CP spokesperson Ed Greenberg.