OTTAWA, ON - Today's joint announcement by Canada and the United States of harmonized regulatory changes for tank cars is welcome as the changes will increase safety in rail transportation of flammable liquids. FCM acknowledges that the DOT-117 tank cars are more robust than the previous cars.
Although they constitute a major improvement, the new DOT-117 tank cars alone will not reduce the risk of future derailments like those that occurred at Lac-Mégantic and Gogoma.
"Making railway operation safer is just as important as tank car sturdiness for reducing derailment frequency and scale," stated Brad Woodside, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
It will take 10 years to phase in the new fleet, the time the industry needs to build the new tank cars. During this phase-in period further special measures are required to ensure the safety of the communities that trains travel through across the country.
"Additional measures could include further speed reductions for older tank cars carrying flammable liquids, as well as improved track maintenance." said president Woodside.
FCM's National Municipal Rail Safety Working Group is actively working with the federal government to make rail transport safer for Canadian municipalities.
FCM was involved in the development of the emergency directive that requires railways to share information about dangerous goods transportation with local authorities so they can plan and respond to emergencies. FCM is also part of the Emergency Response Working Group created in April 2014 by Transport Minister Lisa Raitt to bolster emergency response planning and training throughout the country.
We will continue to work with Transport Canada and Transport Minister Raitt on behalf of Canadian municipalities to promote railway safety.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of municipal government. In leading the municipal movement, FCM works to align federal and local priorities, recognizing that strong hometowns make for a strong Canada.