Canadian Manufacturing

CP Rail says new brake regulations not based on ‘valid science’

Joint U.S.-Canada regulations require electronically controlled pneumatic to reduce the pileup effect in a derailment

CALGARY—U.S. requirements for new braking systems on trains carrying flammable liquids would mean additional costs without any guarantee of improved safety, top executives at Canadian Pacific Railway said May 14.

Adding electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes is meant to reduce the pileup effect in the event of a derailment, but railway chief operating officer Keith Creel said the notion that they must be installed is not based on “valid science.”

“I just think that there’s money better spent to get a better safety impact for the public,” he told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting.

Creel was replying to a shareholder who raised concerns about how new rail safety rules following the fiery crash in Lac-Megantic, Que., nearly two years ago would affect the railway’s bottom line.

The ECP brake rule was announced earlier this month at a news conference with Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. By 2021, there will be a 48 km/h speed limit in the U.S. on trains where a single car lacks new brakes.

Not only may tank car manufacturers face higher costs, but railways would need to retool locomotives to run the ECP-equipped trains, Creel said. On top of that, slower train speeds may also hurt its customers’ business, he added.

The Foxx-Raitt announcement also set out a phase-out plan for the model of tank cars involved in the Lac-Megantic disaster.

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