Canadian freight lines say they have tightened safety rules

July 18, 2013 at 4:04 PM
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OTTAWA, July 18 (UPI) -- Canadian Pacific Railroad and Canadian National, the country's two largest carriers, say they reviewed safety policies following a deadly explosion in Quebec.

The train involved in the Lac-Megantic disaster, the worst rail disaster in Canada since 1864, was operated by the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, a U.S.-based freight line. At least 38 deaths have been confirmed with 12 people missing and believed dead.

CP said that all trains parked unattended outside a rail yard must now be locked, and polices on setting brakes have been tightened, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported. The line said that trains carrying hazardous material will not be left unattended.

"The recent situation gave us a chance to thoroughly review our safety procedures," CP spokesman Ed Greenberg said in an email Thursday. "The result is that we have now strengthening our operating procedures in some key areas that were identified from what recently occurred."

A CN spokesman said the line now has stronger procedures on setting brakes when trains are parked.

Both lines said that all freight trains have at least two people in the crew, an engineer and a conductor.

In Lac-Megantic, a 72-car train carrying crude oil began moving after being left unattended. It derailed, setting off an explosion and fire that leveled much of the downtown area.

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