April 23, 2014

MM&A could be sold by year’s end

PORTLAND, Maine – The bankrupt railroad whose runaway train sparked a fire and explosion that killed 47 people in Quebec could be sold by year’s end, the company’s trustee said Thursday. Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway has made no secret that its sale will be necessary to repay creditors and victims following the July 6 [...]

Canada allows railway behind disaster to operate

OTTAWA – A Canadian government agency has determined that the U.S. rail company whose runaway train crashed into a small Quebec town, killing 47 people last month, has adequate insurance to keep operating for the next month and a half. The Canadian Transportation Agency said the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway provided evidence it had [...]

CP rejects order to pay for Lac-Mégantic cleanup

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. says it holds no financial responsibility for the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster and has rejected a legal demand by the Quebec government that it help pay for the cleanup in the devastated town. The railway announced Thursday that it will appeal the province’s legal order. Read the complete story at The Globe [...]

Single-person train crew operations must be stopped

Mike Futhey

By Mike Futhey, SMART Transportation Division President –  The events that unfolded July 6 in the Canadian province of Quebec, where a runaway train exploded and killed 47 people in the city of Lac-Megantic, weigh on the minds of an assortment of people whose lives were touched, directly or indirectly. On that grizzly evening, a dark [...]

Operating unions advance federal crew-size legislation

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CLEVELAND — The Transportation Division of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation International Association (SMART) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET/IBT) have jointly announced that legislation requiring at least two crew members on all freight trains in the U.S. has been filed in Congress. Initial sponsors for H.R. 3040 are U.S. [...]

Railroad executive puzzled by police raid

Ed Burkhardt, chairman of the board of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, says he doesn’t know why police raided the company’s Quebec offices on Thursday, insisting that the company has been cooperating with police and federal authorites. “If they asked for what they wanted, we would have given it to them,” he said in [...]

Canada toughens train rules after disaster

Canadian transportation authorities banned one-man crews for trains with dangerous goods Tuesday, responding to calls for tougher regulations after an oil train derailment in Quebec killed 47 people. Transport Canada also said trains with dangerous goods will not be allowed to be left unattended on a main track. Hand brakes must be applied to trains [...]

Canada bans one-man crews on hazmat trains

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OTTAWA — Transport Canada July 23 announced an emergency directive pursuant to section 33 of the Railway Safety Act to increase rail safety, banning one-man crews on trains hauling one or more cars loaded with hazardous materials. Although the cause of the accident in Lac-Mégantic remains unknown at this time, Transport Canada is moving forward to [...]

Train disaster a dark turn for rail veteran

A blinding flash of orange light jarred Weyauwega residents awake before dawn on March 4, 1996. An 81-car freight train had been barrelling toward the farm town in central Wisconsin when it jumped a broken rail. The train’s propane and petroleum cargo had caught fire and exploded. Gerald Poltrock II, a rookie local police officer, [...]

Insufficient brake force blamed in Quebec derailment

LAC-MEGANTIC, Que. – Insufficient brake force was applied before an oil train slammed into a town in Quebec on July 6 and killed 47 people, officials said Friday. Donald Ross, chief investigator for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said the insufficient brake force could have been due to mechanical problems with the handbrakes, or [...]