OTTAWA—The federal government has issued an emergency directive ordering railway companies transporting dangerous goods to slow down.
Lisa Raitt, Canada’s Minister of Transport, says companies must slow trains carrying hazardous loads to a maximum of 64 kilometres per hour when travelling in highly urbanized areas.
“Transport Canada continues to take strong action to safeguard Canadians that live along our rail corridors. The Emergency Directive issued today serves as yet another measure to ensure railway companies transport dangerous goods safely and securely,” said Raitt
The directive also requires increased inspections and risk assessments along key routes used for the transportation of dangerous goods, including crude oil and ethanol. The order remains in place until August 17, 2015.
Under the authority of the Railway Safety Act, if the Minister is of the opinion that an immediate threat to safe railway operations exists, the Minister may issue an Emergency Directive ordering a railway company to stop the unsafe activity or take specific action to address the threat.
A government press release says an emergency directive is the most efficient way to immediately address safety and force railway companies to make operational changes quickly.
Canada’s two largest railway operators—CN and CP—have already restricted their train speeds to a maximum of 35 mph in highly urbanized areas.