DOT-111 rail cars being eliminated

by MM&D Online Staff

OTTAWA, ON—The federal government is taking action to address the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s initial recommendations regarding the ongoing investigation into the Lac-Mégantic train derailment.

Effective immediately, Transport Canada will:

  • Issue a Protective Direction removing the least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars from dangerous goods service;
  • Require DOT-111 tank cars that are used to transport crude oil and ethanol that do not meet the standard published in January 2014 in Canada Gazette, Part I, or any other future standard, to be phased out or refitted within three years;
  • Issue a Protective Direction requiring Emergency Response Assistance Plans for crude oil, gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, and ethanol;
  • Create a task force that brings stakeholders such as municipalities, first responders, railways and shippers together to strengthen emergency response capacity across the country; and
  • Require railway companies to reduce the speed of trains carrying dangerous goods and implement other key operating practices.

Transport Canada is working closely with stakeholders—railways, shippers, municipalities, first responders, Aboriginal communities, provincial and territorial governments, and U.S. officials—to protect the health and safety of Canadians. The department continues to cooperate fully with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s ongoing investigation.

Emergency Response Assistance Plans will be required for trains that have even a single tank car loaded with one of the following flammable liquids transported in large quantity by rail: crude oil, gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, or ethanol.

Transport Canada is issuing a Ministerial Order that requires railway companies to develop new rules regarding operating practices for the safe transportation of dangerous goods.

Canadian Pacific welcomed Transport Canada’s announcement pertaining to older DOT-111 tank cars, but the railway expressed disappointment with the federal government’s incomplete actions around addressing human behaviour factors affecting rail safety in Canada.

“CP has been a vocal proponent of increased tank car safety standards and we applaud the Minister of Transport’s direction to eliminate the use of older tank cars,” said CP Chief Executive Officer, E. Hunter Harrison. “While we will comply with all the orders, I must again reiterate that reducing train speeds does not address the causes of railway accidents, nor is it a solution to rail safety. Human behaviours are a significant factor and should be the focus if the goal is to truly improve safety.”

Canadian Pacific believes regulatory changes that would support the use of inward facing cameras in locomotives to allow for compliance monitoring and instituting a program to reduce grade crossings to decrease the incidence of crossing accidents would be key contributors in further advancing rail safety in Canada.

CP has started the process of implementing the various aspects within the timelines required.

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