Rail safety mea­sures

Fed­eral agency en­dorses rec­om­men­da­tions made in wake of Gogama train de­rail­ments

Northern News (Kirkland Lake) - - FRONT PAGE - LEN GILLIS

Trans­port Canada, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment agency that en­forces trans­porta­tion safety, said it fully sup­ports the rec­om­men­da­tions de­signed to make rail­way op­er­a­tions run more safely in North­ern On­tario.

In a news re­lease from Ot­tawa this past week, Trans­port Canada said it has ac­cepted the key safety rec­om­men­da­tion that re­sulted from the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the de­rail­ment of a CN Rail train near Gogama two and a half years ago.

That in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed that a bro­ken sec­tion of rail – a piece of rail that had been re­cently re­paired – was the cause of the de­rail­ment on March 7, 2015 on the CN main­line at the Makami River.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion, car­ried out by Canada’s Trans­porta­tion Safety Board (TSB) said Trans­port Canada should have been us­ing more of the avail­able data from in­spec­tions and re­pairs to fore­tell when prob­lems might oc­cur

The rec­om­men­da­tion was made by TSB chair Kathy Fox at a news con­fer­ence held in Sud­bury on Au­gust 3.

Speak­ing after that news con­fer­ence, Fox told The Daily Press that the sin­gle rec­om­men­da­tion for an­a­lyz­ing more data is a re­al­is­tic one de­spite the re­mote­ness of CN’s main­line run­ning through most of North­ern On­tario. She said CN al­ready gath­ers a sig­nif­i­cant amount of data on re­pairs and in­spec­tions, with much of the data con­tain­ing in­di­ca­tors that could pre­dict when a prob­lem might oc­cur.

“What we’re ask­ing is for Trans­port Canada to get that in­for­ma­tion that the rail­ways are al­ready col­lect­ing and con­sider it, along with the other lag­ging in­di­ca­tors they tra­di­tion­ally have con­sid­ered,” said Fox.

She said Trans­port Canada is man­dated to carry out track in­spec­tions, but in this case that part of the Ruel Sub­di­vi­sion near Gogama had not been vis­ually in­spected by Trans­port Canada since 2012.

In the news re­lease is­sued a few days ago, Trans­port Canada con­firmed it has re­quested data on rail sur­face con­di­tions from the Cana­dian Na­tional Rail­way and from the Cana­dian Pa­cific Rail­way; both have agreed to pro­vide the in­for­ma­tion to the de­part­ment on an on­go­ing ba­sis. The in­for­ma­tion will be used to sup­ple­ment the data that in­forms the de­part­ment’s reg­u­la­tory track in­spec­tions start­ing in 2018-19.

“I am deeply con­cerned ev­ery time there’s a de­rail­ment in Canada, whether it’s on a pri­vate, pro­vin­cial or fed­eral route. Rail safety is my top pri­or­ity as Min­is­ter of Trans­port,” said fed­eral trans­port min­is­ter Marc Garneau. He also thanked the TSB for its work in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré said he too was pleased with the call to ac­tion by the TSB.

“I am con­fi­dent that the adop­tion of the TSB rec­om­men­da­tion will im­prove pre­ven­tion of sim­i­lar in­ci­dents from oc­cur­ring in the fu­ture,” said Serré.

SUP­PLIED PHOTO/TRANS­PORTA­TION SAFETY BOARD OF CANADA

Trans­port Canada said it has ac­cepted the rec­om­men­da­tion from Canada’s Trans­porta­tion Safety Board to make bet­ter use of avail­able rail­way re­pair and in­spec­tion data to help pre­vent sit­u­a­tions where prob­lem in­di­ca­tors are in­ad­ver­tently over­looked. This comes after it was re­vealed that the March 7, 2015 CN oil train de­rail­ment near Gogama was caused by a bro­ken rail.

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