November 29, 2014

Quebec rail disaster may jump-starting safe push

A runaway oil train that killed scores of people when it slammed into a Quebec town is bringing renewed calls on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border for tougher safety rules for railroads. Regulators and watchdogs have sought for years improvements to a common tank car design shown to be susceptible to rupture when derailed, [...]

Union says one-man train crews unsafe

HERMON, Maine — The runaway Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway train that plowed through a small Quebec town killing 50 people on July 6 had one engineer assigned to it. The American union of railway workers representing most of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway workers thinks the practice is dangerous, and has fought that work [...]

Engineer may have prevented greater catastrophe

FARNHAM, Quebec — Locomotive engineer Tom Harding was likely the last person at the controls of the runaway train that rolled into downtown Lac-Mégantic Saturday morning, causing untold death and destruction. But though Harding himself has remained silent, a new picture is emerging of the Farnham man as a hero, whose bravery may have prevented [...]

FRA to inspect Montreal, Maine & Atlantic

A team from the Federal Railroad Administration is expected to arrive in Maine on Thursday to begin a comprehensive inspection of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway’s tracks, operations and equipment. If inspectors find safety problems on the 275 miles of track owned by the company in Maine, they can order the company to make [...]

Risks of one-man crews debated after disaster

The train hauling millions of gallons of crude oil that slammed into a Canadian town got there with a crew of one – staffing permitted by law though opposed by labor leaders who’ve warned of the risks. The union representing workers at Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. fought the company policy that allowed a [...]

Behind the rail explosion, too few railroaders

Much attention concerning the Quebec rail disaster has focused on the danger of transporting oil by rail. But pipelines come with hazards, too. For example, a natural gas pipeline exploded in southeast New Mexico in 2000, killing 12. Earlier this year, an Exxon Mobil pipeline carrying Canadian crude ruptured in Arkansas, causing major environmental damage. [...]

Quebec oil train derailment sparks criminal probe

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec – Quebec police are pursuing a painstaking, wide-ranging criminal investigation of the inferno ignited by the derailment of a runaway oil train that killed at least 15 people and left dozens missing in the burned-out ruins of a downtown district. Quebec police inspector Michel Forget ruled out terrorism as a cause, but said [...]

Train disaster spurs rail vs. pipeline debate

A train disaster that killed five people in Quebec promises to touch off debate over the safety of shipping crude oil by rail or pipelines such as TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL. As authorities began investigating the explosion of refinery-bound tank cars hauled by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd., Quebec’s Green Party demanded stricter [...]