Ottawa imposes urban speed limit on freight trains

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt has extended a directive to rail companies ordering trains to stick to a 64 km/h speed limit in heavily urbanized areas

There will be a 64 km/h speed limit in cities of 100,000, more inspections have also been added

A directive announced by Transport Minister Lisa Raitt on Thursday also calls for increased inspections along key routes used for transporting dangerous goods. (Canadian Press)

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt has slapped a speed limit on trains carrying dangerous goods through urban areas with a population of 100,000 or more.

She issued a directive Thursday telling rail companies there will be a 64 km/h speed limit.

The directive also calls for increased inspections along key routes used for transporting dangerous goods.

A government news release says both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific have already imposed a 56 km/h speed limit on their trains.

The Transportation Safety Board included slower train speeds among its recommendations in a report on rail safety last year.

Rail safety has become a hot button issue for the federal government since the disaster in Lac Megantic, Que in 2013 in which 47 people died.

A parked train broke loose and derailed in the middle of the Quebec community, setting off a massive fire.

There have been a number of train derailments since that involved hazardous materials.

Last month, the transportation ministers of Ontario and Quebec sent a letter to Raitt expressing concern over the growing number of derailments, calling it unacceptable.

In Octobert, 2014, Raitt ordered trains hauling varying dangerous goods would be limited to travelling at 80 km/h per hour. That order was to run out on midnight April 23, 2015. It is not clear whether that speed restriction from earlier will stay in effect for less populated regions.


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