Montreal

Central Maine & Quebec Railway threatens to sue man for inspecting Lac-Mégantic tracks

The Central Maine and Quebec Railway (CMQ) says it's considering legal action against the person who carried out an inspection of its tracks in Lac-Mégantic earlier this week.

Jacques Daniel Vandersleyen, lecturer and former rail employee, was invited by residents to inspect tracks

Jacques Daniel Vandersleyen, a university lecturer and former employee of National Belgium Railway, was invited by Lac-Méganitc residents to inspect the train line. (Radio-Canada)

The Central Maine and Quebec Railway (CMQ) says it's considering legal action against the person who carried out an inspection of its tracks Monday in Lac-Mégantic. 

Jacques Daniel Vandersleyen is a lecturer at the University of Quebec in Rimouski, and a former employee of National Belgium Railway. He was invited by residents of Lac-Mégantic to observe and give recommendations about the rail lines.

The inspection comes two years after a train derailed and exploded in downtown Lac-Mégantic, demolishing the town and killing 47 people.

Vandersleyen told the mayor and residents that he believes the tracks are dangerous. He said the tracks are not secured safely to the ground and cannot properly absorb heavy loads.

Vandersleyen said he believes there is a risk another train derailment could occur.

Inspection illegal, company says

John Giles, the president and CEO of Central Maine and Quebec Railway, said the so-called inspection of the lines was illegal.

"They're trespassing. They're out on a live track," Giles said, adding that he doesn't think Vandersleyen is an expert — nor does he consider his assessment of  the rail lines to have any value.

The company said that it has invested more than $20 million in the safety of the tracks.

Giles also added that CMQ works closely with Transport Canada to ensure the safety of the railway, carries out inspections twice a week and has done all the work required of it so far.

"It would have to be up to snuff, right? It can't be slipshod, right? That's my logic," Giles said.

Colette Roy-Laroche, mayor of Lac-Megantic, says she wants clear answers about the current state of the train track that runs through the town. (Radio-Canada)
Transport Canada said its last inspection was carried out in May 2015. It encourages the citizens of Lac-Mégantic to share any concerns they may have with the ministry.

Vandersleyen said he would like to see Transport Canada's report, which maintains the railway line is safe.

He also said he isn't afraid of being sued by the company, adding that CMQ should put its energy into repairing its tracks instead.    

Lac-Mégantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche said she is concerned by Vandersleyen's findings following his inspection. She said she plans to contact various authorities to get some answers about the state of the rail line.

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