Saskatchewan mayors worry about rail lines
A number of municipal leaders in Saskatchewan are expressing concerns about rail lines running through their cities, following the train derailment and explosion in Quebec.
Saskatoon's mayor Don Atchison repeated his view that rail tracks should not run through the downtown.
"We'll continue to work with and encourage the railways ... to move the rail lines outside of the centre of the city of Saskatoon," Atchison said.
Regina also has a rail line running through the middle of the city. That city's mayor, Michael Fougere, says it may not be realistic to insist on moving the tracks.
"If you move your lines out of the city that would be really good," Fougere said. "But we know that that won't happen, so we want to have a more clear discussion on the timing and product moving through our city."
Fougere said the cities should have more of a say in how railways operate within municipal boundaries.
Deb Higgins says she would like to see that city's downtown rail line moved out, but does not think it will happen because of the cost.
Higgins says regulations on rail lines need to be the best they can be.
"There has to be a good set of regulations to ensure that rail lines are well maintained," Higgins said. "[And] when there's any opportunity where dangerous goods are being moved, that we for sure have good safety standards and regulations in place."
A long-time rail worker, Scott Lawrence, agrees that good rules promote safety.
Lawrence recently retired from his job as a train conductor for CP, in Saskatoon.
He says strong rules, that are enforced, are the key to safety especially when dangerous goods are being moved.
"[Follow] the Canadian railway operating rules, and the general operating instructions, and all of the rules that conductors have to learn," Lawrence told CBC News.
In Estevan, the mayor is concerned about a transfer facility that loads oil into tanker cars.
"All we're asking is that the transload facility doesn't not take place inside our city, but outside," Estevan's Roy Ludwig told CBC News.
In Saskatchewan, along with the national rail lines, there are four short lines hauling oil. According to provincial officials, 18 per cent of the oil shipped in Saskatchewan is by rail.