Transport Canada seeks CN safety plan after derailments

Toronto | Reuters — Regulator Transport Canada has issued a notice to Canadian National Railway (CN) requesting a plan to ensure safety along its main line’s Ruel subdivision, where three trains derailed in fewer than 30 days in February and March, the railway said Wednesday.

The notice, given on March 12 but not previously reported, was given under the Railway Safety Act.

CN spokesman Mark Hallman said the company has already advised Transport Canada of actions taken to improve safety in the area, including increased track inspections and a speed restriction.

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“CN plans to submit its formal response to Transport Canada’s RSA notice, with additional updates on the action plan it’s already submitted to the department, within the next week,” he said in an email.

Hallman said trains carrying more than 20 cars of flammable liquids have been limited to 56 km/h between Winnipeg and Capreol, Ont., about 30 km north of Sudbury, for a 60-day period.

The changes have not affected the “overall fluidity” of CN’s network in the region, he said.

Last week Canada’s transportation watchdog said track failures may have played a role in all three derailments. Two ignited large crude oil fires.

On Monday, Reuters reported that CN’s safety record deteriorated sharply in 2014, reversing years of improvements as accidents blamed on poor track conditions spiked.

Reporting for Reuters by Allison Martell in Toronto.

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