Teamsters slam train safety

by MM&D Online Staff

OTTAWA, ontario—The Teamsters Union has again voiced its concerns following the third train derailment in Northern Ontario in less than a month.

For years, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC)—which represents more than 12,000 railway workers—have continually stressed the need for more inspectors to be hired to see to the optimal operation of the equipment and the integrity of the tracks.

Teamsters Canada launched a campaign last fall to raise public awareness of its concerns. It is estimated that each inspector is responsible for 450 kilometres of track, the equivalent of the distance between Toronto and Montreal.

“In our opinion, the trains are too long, too heavy and travel too fast, for the present infrastructure under certain environmental conditions” points out Doug Finnson, president of the TCRC. “Could more inspectors on the track have prevented this disaster?”

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating and will unveil its findings in the coming months. According to TSB statistics, 102 derailments occurred in 2014 alone.

“It goes without saying that we cannot comment further before the TSB tables its report,” carefully adds the union leader. “However, may I point out that this is the second time that a train derails on a bridge in less than a year.”

This Canadian National (CN) train was carrying crude oil. It derailed three kilometres to the west of the small town of Gogama in Ontario and caught on fire. Roads were closed and tank cars fell into the river.

The Teamsters represents 115,000 members in Canada in all trades.