Canadian Manufacturing

Transport Canada formalizes rules to secure trains in wake of Lac-Mégantic disaster

Regulations will strength handbrake requirements and prevent runaways



OTTAWA—Transport Canada has approved new rules surrounding the securing of trains in response to the Lac-Mégantic disaster that killed 47 in July of 2013.

Following the disaster, the department imposed stricter rules for securing unattended trains by issuing an emergency directive that set a standard on the number of applied handbrakes, and a subsequent directive which also required additional physical securement measures to prevent runaway trains. Those rules have now been formally imposed, as well as made more detailed.

“Today we have reached another important milestone ‎in response to recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada stemming from its investigation into the Lac-Mégantic derailment,” the agency said.

“The new rules provide industry with a comprehensive handbrake application chart to respond to various operating situations, which once applied, must be confirmed by another employee with the appropriate level of knowledge,” it added.

Under the regulations, railway equipment must also be secured by additional physical measures listed in the rules. A locomotive’s cabin must be locked and immobilized whenever a train is left unattended to prevent unauthorized entry as well.

“These rules are just one of the ways Transport Canada is improving railway safety in Canada. Earlier this year, the department required trains carrying dangerous goods to slow their speeds when travelling in highly urbanized areas,” Transport Canada said.

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