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Company tied to Quebec rail disaster bankrupt

Aug. 8, 2013 at 8:31 AM

MONTREAL, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- The obligations tied to the Lac-Megantic oil train disaster in Quebec have exceeded the value of the railroad's corporate assets, company officials said.

At least 40 people were killed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, after the early July derailment of a train carrying tankers of crude oil from North Dakota to Canadian refineries. Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway blamed the air brakes on the locomotive holding the freight for the accident.

Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Canada Co. and Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd. said they filed for bankruptcy protection in response to the incident.

"It has become apparent that the obligations of both companies now exceed the value of their assets, including prospective insurance recoveries, as a direct result of the tragic derailment at Lac-Megantic, Quebec on July 6th," board Chairman Edward Burkhardt said in a statement.

The Globe and Mail reports clean-up costs alone could exceed $200 million.

Burkhardt said Wednesday essential rail services from all stations in the region would continue. Lac-Megantic lines remain closed. He said the rail group wanted to continue working with provincial and municipal authorities on environmental remediation and clean-up operations.

"The people of Lac-Megantic have suffered a great deal over the last month," he said. "We are joined in sorrow, a sorrow that will remain a part of me for the rest of my life."

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