Category Archives: Canadian regulation

Canada limits speed of trains moving dangerous goods – details

Minister of Transport updates Ministerial Order to reduce the risks of derailment of trains transporting dangerous goods

OTTAWA, Feb. 16, 2020 /CNW/ – To protect Canadians who live along our rail corridors, it is critical that the movement of dangerous goods by rail is done in a safe way.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced specific measures through an amended Ministerial Order, to help prevent further derailment of trains carrying large quantities of dangerous goods, like petroleum crude oil, liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline and ethanol.Following the derailment of a key train on February 6th, 2020, in Guernsey Saskatchewan, a Ministerial Order was issued for the immediate slowdown of key trains. A key train is one carrying 20 or more cars containing dangerous goods; or a train carrying one or more cars of toxic inhalation gas.

Since then, Transport Canada officials have worked diligently with large railway companies to further assess the causes of recent derailments, and to develop plans to address the areas of greatest concern. As a result of this work, new measures are being implemented effective immediately to reduce the speed of the higher risk key trains traveling through areas of greatest concern.

Accordingly, the Ministerial Order has been updated to provide a more targeted risk-based approach.

Key trains

    • The speed limit for key trains is now limited to 35 mph in metropolitan areas. Outside of metropolitan areas where there are no track signals, the speed is limited to 40 mph.

New measures for high risk key trains.

Higher risk key trains are unit trains where tank cars are loaded with a single dangerous goods commodity moving to the same point of destination; or trains that include any combination of 80 or more tank cars containing dangerous goods.

    • The speed limit for higher risk key trains is now limited to 25 mph where there are no track signals. For metropolitan areas, the speed limit is 30 mph unless the metropolitan area is in a non-signal territory where the speed limit will be maintain at a maximum 25 mph.

 

Type of train

Speed limit of train in metropolitan areas

Speed limit of train in areas where there are track signals

Speed limit of train in areas where there are no track signals

Higher risk key trains

(unit trains where tank cars are loaded with a single dangerous goods commodity moving to the same point of destination; or trains that include any combination of 80 or more tank cars containing dangerous goods)

30 mph (and 25 mph for non-signaled territory).

50 mph

25 mph

Key trains

(Key trains include one or more tank cars of dangerous goods that are toxic by inhalation; or trains that include 20 or more tank cars containing dangerous goods)

35 mph

50 mph

40 mph

 

The new Ministerial Order will enter into effect immediately and will remain in place until April 1, 2020.

Transport Canada is working with the railways to develop a more comprehensive set of safety measures, which will include permanent measures. These will target track infrastructure maintenance and renewal, winter operations, safety practices of the railway companies, and any other actions necessary to keep Canadians safe.

Rail safety is the Minister of Transport’s top priority, and the Government of Canada is continuously looking for ways to make our railway system even safer for Canadians.

Quotes

“The safety of Canadians is a top priority for myself and the Government of Canada. The series of derailments like the one that occurred in Guernsey, Saskatchewan, and the impacts of these accidents are concerning. It is for this reason that I put immediate speed restrictions to reduce the risk of derailments until more permanent measures are put into place to address this situation. A safe and efficient railway system is critical to the well-being of our country and its citizens.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

Quick Facts

    • A Ministerial Order is binding instrument that is put in place to address a safety issue.
    • Minister Garneau issued a Ministerial Order on February 6, 2020, that required key trains to slow down, as a precaution to prevent further derailment of trains transporting dangerous goods.

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    ‘Significant industry interest’ in oil tank cars involved in latest fiery CP train crash, TSB says

    These tank cars were touted as safer than those in the 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster

    CBC News, by Guy Quenneville, Feb 14, 2020 12:15 PM CT

    ‘There is significant industry interest in documenting the performance of the DOT 117J100-W tank cars’ involved in the crash, the TSB says. (TSB)

    The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says it has not found any mechanical defects that could account for the derailment of a CP Rail oil train last week near the small Saskatchewan hamlet of Guerney — but it’s taking a close look at the tank cars involved in the incident.

    The TSB issued a preliminary report on the Feb. 6 crash on Friday morning. None of the findings are final.

    “A review of the locomotive event recorder download determined that the train was handled in accordance with regulatory and company requirements,” the TSB said in its preliminary update.

    The finding about a lack of mechanical defects referred only to the train and did not refer to the track, a TSB spokesperson confirmed.

    It also found that of the 32 tank cars that derailed, 19 were involved in the blaze that shut down the nearby highway and prompted the voluntary evacuation of about 85 people. It’s not clear how many, or if any, tanks lost their entire loads.

    Transport Canada has touted the newly-built cars involved in last week’s crash, dubbed TC-117s, as being safer than the tanks used in the explosive Lac-Mégantic rail disaster of 2013.

    Questions about ‘containment integrity and fire resistance’

    Last week’s derailment was the second to happen near Guernsey in less than two months. A CP oil train crashed on the other side of Guernsey on Dec. 9, 2019, with 19 of the 33 derailed tank cars losing their entire loads of oil.

    The tanks involved in that crash were retrofitted cars — TC-117Rs — which have a slightly less thick hull than the new TC-117s.

    CP does not own the tank cars but rather leases them from a provider.

    In its release about the most recent derailment, the TSB said there is “significant industry interest in documenting the performance of the [new TC-117] tank cars,” particularly in terms of “containment integrity and fire resistance.”

    Investigators also found that of the 32 tank cars that derailed, 19 were involved in the blaze that shut down the nearby highway and prompted the voluntary evacuation of about 85 people. (TSB)

    The fire from last week’s train crash burned for at least a day and a half.

    The eastbound train, which was carrying diluted bitumen owned by ConocoPhillips, had left Rosyth, Alberta, and was headed for Stroud, Oklahoma. It derailed about 2.4 km west of Guernsey.

    A Texas-based company called Trinity Rail previously confirmed to CBC News that it manufactured the tank cars involved in last Thursday’s crash and is “proactively monitoring the situation.”

    While the TSB said the amount of oil released remains undetermined, the Saskatchewan government has said an estimated 1.2 million litres of oil spilled, citing CP as its source. That’s just short of the amount spilled in the December derailment.

    Slower speed in 2nd crash

    According to the TSB, the train that derailed in December was travelling at about 75 kilometres an hour, which is the speed limit on that section of CP’s line.

    But last Thursday’s train was travelling more slowly, at around 67 kilometres an hour.

    Three TSB investigators are probing the causes of the crash.

    “Each tank car must be cleaned, purged, and staged prior to inspection,” the TSB said. “As of [Wednesday], about 17 of the derailed cars have been examined, with several cars exhibiting breaches.”

    The train was carrying a total of 104 tank cars.

    Sask. minister talks pipelines, rail safety

    The two derailments have prompted many people to advocate for more pipelines.

    In a news conference Friday about school bus safety and the blockades that have crippled Canada’s rail service, Saskatchewan’s minister of highways and infrastructure, Greg Ottenbreit, made a brief comment that touched on the topic of pipelines and railway safety.

    “Saskatchewan is a landlocked province but Saskatchewan is also a gateway to the world,” he said. “And I think a lot of my fellow ministers can connect with those comments. We will continue to advocate for an uninhibited tidewater access, also pipeline access, which will lead to rail safety and capacity.”

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      Canada’s National Energy Board is recommending re-approval of controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

      Repost from The Energy Mix
      [Editor: Canada news is also U.S. news.  Canada wants to send that oil to the west, for eventual export on the Pacific Ocean.  Highly recommended: The Energy Mix newsletter.  Check out their archive of past issues.  Subscribe here.  – RS]

      NEB Sidesteps ‘Significant’ Impacts, Recommends Trans Mountain Pipeline Approval

      By Mitchell Beer, February 25, 2019
      skeeze/Pixabay

      Canada’s National Energy Board is recommending federal cabinet re-approval of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion despite its likely “significant” environmental and climate impacts, prompting multiple Indigenous and environmental opponents to vow the project will never be completed.

      “The project would cause ‘significant adverse environmental effects’ on the southern resident killer whale population, and while a worst-case spill from the pipeline or an oil tanker is not likely, ‘the effects would be significant,’” CBC reports, citing NEB Chief Environmental Officer Robert Steedman.

      “While these effects weighed heavily in the NEB’s consideration of project-related marine shipping, the NEB recommends that the Government of Canada find that they can be justified in the circumstances, in light of the considerable benefits of the project and measures to minimize the effects,” the NEB decision stated.

      “Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), said it’s ‘ludicrous’ that economic interests are considered more important than killer whales,” National Observer reports. “We are proud British Columbians, and we have a duty to protect what we’ve all been blessed with in British Columbia in regard to the pristine beauty of the environment,” Philip said. “We will rise to the challenge.”

      “I think the NEB has a long record of siding with industry over communities and other concerns…so we have every expectation that they’re going to recommend the project go ahead despite the serious problems with it,” said Stand.earth climate campaigner Sven Biggs, in the lead-up to the NEB announcement. “It’s likely there are going to be more lawsuits and more delays because of them, and if the cabinet decides to go ahead and restart construction, you’ll see protests in the streets and along the pipeline route.”

      Canadian Chamber of Commerce CEO Perrin Beatty “said he was pleased the NEB sees the project as a matter of ‘national interest’, and ‘now it is up to the federal government to take the steps necessary for getting this pipeline built without any further delay’,” Observer states.

      Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi called the ruling “an important milestone”, adding that Ottawa is in a “very strong position” to wrap up project consultations with affected Indigenous communities within 90 days.

      “We know how important this process is to Canadians,” Sohi said in a prepared statement. “We are hopeful the work we are doing will put us in a strong position to make a decision.”

      The NEB attached 16 new conditions to the approval, on top of the 156 it had already imposed, including “measures to reduce underwater noise and to protect marine species from collision, reduce the emissions of vessels, among other issues,” Observer reports. “The NEB said it applied the precautionary principle, requiring that environmental measures must anticipate and prevent environmental harm, when considering human industrial involvement with the ‘complex and interconnected ecosystem’ of the Salish Sea.”

      The Board added that the pipeline “remains in the public interest of Canada,” CBC writes. “The regulator provided a list of ‘considerable’ benefits from the project including jobs across the country, government revenues, spending on pipeline materials, greater market access for Canadian oil, and training, jobs, and business opportunities for local Indigenous communities.”

      It added that marine traffic off the B.C. coast is on track to increase, with or without an expanded pipeline. “The panel feels strongly that if these recommendations are implemented, they will offset the relatively minor effects of the project-related marine traffic and, in fact, will benefit the entire Salish Sea ecosystem,” Steedman said.

      For the groups that have been fighting the pipeline, the decision was just another step on a long road.

      “We still say no to the project,” said UBCIC Secretary Treasurer, Chief Judy Wilson. Even if one nation, one community says no, that project is not happening.”

      “The troubling part for me and First Nations concerned about their water and their territories is the fact that Trudeau has stated this pipeline will be built, full stop. It makes an absolute mockery of the consultation process that was court ordered and has been accomplished today,” added UBCIC Vice President and Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis Chief Bob Chamberlin.

      “The NEB has effectively ignored the impacts on whales, Indigenous communities, and the climate. Now it is up to cabinet to reject the NEB’s recommendation and refuse to approve the project,” said Ecojustice lawyer Dyna Tuytel.

      Climate Convergence Metro Vancouver responded with a Friday afternoon demonstration outside local CBC offices. “The world’s climate scientists are clear: we have 12 years to drastically reduce carbon emissions or face catastrophic consequences,” the organization stated on Facebook. “We can do this, but the clock is ticking. Instead of making urgent and meaningful investments in sustainable development and renewable energy projects, the Trudeau government is committing billions in public funds toward expanding dirty tar sands bitumen extraction.”

      The news report on Common Dreams captured crossborder reaction, as well.

      “I understand in British Columbia, this pipeline will provide a way of having an income,” said Noel Purser of the Suquamish Tribe, one of four Northwest U.S. Indigenous communities that challenged the project in 2013. “But is it worth the potential of a spill, that risk? Is it really worth that? Because that will impact everybody, not just here in British Columbia. It will impact us in Suquamish; it will impact our relatives in Alaska.”

      “Once again, Canada’s NEB has sided with short-term Big Oil profits instead of the long-term health of the Pacific Northwest’s people, climate, and orcas,” said Marcie Keever of Friends of the Earth. “Shame on Prime Minister Trudeau, his government, and the National Energy Board of Canada for ignoring widespread opposition and serious concerns in favor of this destructive pipeline. Canada’s decision will likely bring about the extinction of the Northwest’s iconic killer whales and drive us further towards the brink of climate chaos.”

      Writing in the week or so before the decision, Dogwood BC’s Kai Nagata circulated a list of the things he would and would not do once the widely-expected announcement was official.

      “Here’s what I’m going to do when the news comes out: Take a deep breath, walk the dog, make dinner for my kid,” he wrote. “Here’s what I’m not going to do: Wail, gnash teeth, rend my garments, wallow in despair.”

      All of that on the assumption that the outcome of the NEB’s review was already as certain as death and taxes.

      “Justin Trudeau can promise hope and change and reconciliation and all that nice stuff. At the end of the day, he does what the oil companies tell him,” he wrote. “So that’s what’s wrapping up this week—another rigged review by an industry-funded, industry-staffed regulator that has never said no to a pipeline.” But “we also need to build our energy for the bigger fight ahead,” beginning when the project receives federal cabinet approval.

      “That’s going to take hard work. And hard work requires us to slow down and take care of the basics: sleep, food, fresh air, our relationships with family and friends,” he wrote. But despite the “hell of a beating” communities have taken from fossil companies over the last couple of years, “I’m feeling calm and confident,” he concluded. “I hope you do, too.”

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        LATEST DERAILMENT: Diesel fuel leak in heart of Toronto, no injuries

        Repost from the Toronto Star

        Freight train derailment a ‘wake-up call’ on rail safety, councillor says

        Human error blamed for freight train derailment in heart of the city after a Canadian Pacific Railway train collided with another on Sunday morning.
        By Ebyan Abdigir, Aug. 21, 2016
        A CP Railway freight train derailed near Bathurst and Dupont Sts., early Sunday after two trains collided, causing a diesel fuel spill. CP blames human error for the collision.
        A CP Railway freight train derailed near Bathurst and Dupont Sts., early Sunday after two trains collided, causing a diesel fuel spill. CP blames human error for the collision. (ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE / TORONTO STAR)

        Human error is being blamed for a freight train derailment in the heart of Toronto Sunday morning that had crews scrambling to contain a diesel fuel leak.

        The derailment happened after a train struck the tail of another train at about 5:20 a.m. near Dupont and Bathurst Sts., Canadian Pacific Railway spokesperson Martin Cej told the Star.

        No one was injured in the collision and subsequent derailment and the diesel fuel leak, which Toronto police said had not been a threat to public safety, was quickly contained.

        Cej said that one car was carrying batteries and aerosols, which are classified as “dangerous goods” under Canadian regulation, but they did not leak, he confirmed.

        City councillor Josh Matlow raised new concerns Sunday about freight trains running through densely populated neighbourhoods.

        A CN train derailed near Bridgeman and Howland Aves., East of Bathurst and Dupont Sts.
        A CN train derailed near Bridgeman and Howland Aves., East of Bathurst and Dupont Sts.  (ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE) 

        “While it was incredibly fortunate no one was hurt today, this derailment should act as a wake-up call for the federal government to move swiftly on rail safety,” he said.

        This spring, Mayor John Tory, Matlow and 16 other councillors whose wards are nestled by rail lines, signed a letter sent to Marc Garneau, the federal Transport Minister, calling for better rail safety.

        The 2016 federal budget allocated $143 million to be used over three years to improve rail safety.

        Cej said “early indications” point to human error as the cause of Sunday’s collision and derailment and that equipment failure was not a factor.

        Bartlett Ave., north of Dupont, was closed while police and rail officials investigated the incident.

        A crowd gathers near where a CP Railway train derailed near Bathurst and Dupont Sts. on Sunday morning.
        A crowd gathers near where a CP Railway train derailed near Bathurst and Dupont Sts. on Sunday morning.   (ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE)

        Although there were no dangerous goods on board either train Sunday, roughly 9 per cent of goods transported by CP in Ontario are regulated dangerous goods, according to a disclosure to Transport Canada for 2015.

        A 2014 investigation by Star reporter Jessica McDiarmid monitored CP’s rail line that crosses Barlett Ave. on its way to Dupont St. in the Junction before it goes northward, west of the Don Valley.

        Between two 12-hour shifts, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., the Star found that more than 130 cars and tanks carried dangerous goods such as crude oil, methyl bromide and ethyl trichlorosilane, and more.

        A little over three years ago, a train hauling 72 cars of crude oil, derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Que. It resulted in an inferno that killed 47 people, and spilled six million litres of crude.

        Since the 2013 Lac-Mégantic disaster, rail companies are required to provide information to municipalities for emergency planning, however, under strict confidentiality agreements. Canada’s largest railroads already did this upon request.

        In February 2015, the federal government introduced a bill that increased the amount of insurance railways must carry to cover costs in the event of a derailment.

        A worker grabs hold of the railing of a derailed CN engine near Bridgeman and Howland Aves. on August 21.
        A worker grabs hold of the railing of a derailed CN engine near Bridgeman and Howland Aves. on August 21.  (ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE) 

        With files from Fakiha Baig and Star Staff

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