New Brunswick & Maine Railways makes safety changes
Announcement follows train disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Que.
New Brunswick & Maine Railways has announced operating changes designed to better ensure the safety of the public and its employees.
The changes comply with directives announced by Transport Canada earlier this week, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the company, part of the J.D. Irving Ltd. group.
They come following the derailment and explosion in Lac-Mégantic, Que., which claimed an estimated 47 lives.
Among the changes: "All locomotives that are unattended and safely parked on rail sidings and rail yards will be completely secured and rendered inoperable," JDI's vice president communications Mary Keith said in the statement.
In addition, hand brake policies provide train crews with more specific guidance on their application to include the size of the train and the terrain where the train is parked, she said.
The company's trains are not left unattended on mainline operations in New Brunswick and Maine, said Keith.
The federal Transportation Safety Board — which is still investigating the Lac-Mégantic disaster — had asked for changes in regulations governing rail traffic.
Safety a priority
New Brunswick & Maine Railways, which includes New Brunswick Southern Railway, Eastern Maine Railway and Maine Northern Railway, conducted a full operational review and issued several operating bulletins to its Canadian and U.S. operations, Keith said.
"The safe operation of our business is a priority," the company's website says.
"We comply with — and in many cases exceed — the many safety regulations that guide our industry, through Transport Canada and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in the United States. It’s a commitment we take seriously each and every day."
All of the company's trains operate with a two-person crew who complete a detailed inspection before every departure, according to the company's website.
Visual rail inspections are conducted three to five times per week on high-density railway lines, while industry regulations require only weekly inspections, it says.
X-ray and ultrasonic technology is used four times a year on the main lines to identify any flaws. Such an assessment is required yearly under current industry regulations.