Canada eyes impact of long oil trains on railway track integrity

Reuters | July 10, 2015 | Report by Alison Martell

Canadian officials are studying the impact of long oil trains on the integrity of the country's railway tracks, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said on Friday.

Raitt said the research is part of the federal transport department's response to a series of derailments along Canadian National Railway Co's mainline in northern Ontario earlier this year.

"We're looking at oil unit trains," Raitt told reporters in Toronto. "It's a significant change in how we're moving goods in the country, so that we should take a look at it."

Oil unit trains are made up almost entirely of tank cars carrying crude oil rather than a mixture of freight.

Some industry experts have suggested that the trains might put unusual stress on railway tracks. Others point out that while oil unit trains are new, heavier unit trains carrying coal and other commodities have operated for decades.

CN Rail, the country's biggest railway, suffered a string of derailments in February and March, including three along one section of its main route through northern Ontario. Two of those trains were carrying oil.

A Reuters investigation found CN Rail had suffered a spike in derailments last year as accidents caused by poor track conditions jumped. CN blamed the increase on bad weather and increased freight volume, and in April boosted spending on its track network.

A crackdown on oil unit trains could raise the cost of shipping Canadian crude by rail as unit trains are typically cheaper to operate than trains with mixed freight. (Additional reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama; and Peter Galloway)

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSL1N0ZQ0YN20150710?irpc=932

Do you like this post?

Showing 3 reactions


commented 2015-07-13 15:17:23 -0400 · Flag
This seems like a no brainer. How about the US DOT or Railroad Safety Administration do the same?
PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy posted about Canada eyes impact of long oil trains on railway track integrity on PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy's Facebook page 2015-07-13 10:08:24 -0400
Canada eyes impact of long oil trains on railway track integrity
@PAUSEnergy tweeted this page. 2015-07-13 10:08:20 -0400
PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE works to promote safe, sustainable energy and environmental justice.  We aim to engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry's assault on the people of Albany and our environment.