Canadian Pacific says it is cooperating with safety investigation

Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:29pm EDT
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OTTAWA, June 22 (Reuters) - Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd said on Monday that it is cooperating with a new federal safety investigation, following allegations raised in a media report that it parked a train carrying dangerous goods on a mountain slope in the western Canadian province of British Columbia, without applying adequate brakes.

The federal transport department confirmed that it had obtained a search warrant to investigate the alleged events from February 2015.

"I leave it to my investigators to follow up with complaints that they receive and concerns that they hear of and do their due diligence and I'm glad that they're following through," Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said on Monday in an interview.

The department's search warrant alleged that a CP manager ordered staff to leave the trains unattended on the evening of Feb. 14-15 without adequate brakes above the town of Revelstoke, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The incident occurred as CP workers were launching a strike that would end on Feb. 16 when the union and management agreed to arbitration.

"CP is cooperating fully with Transport Canada and will continue to do so," Martin Cej, a spokesman for CP, said. "As the investigation is ongoing, we have no further comment."

Raitt said railway safety rules were updated last October by the Canadian government because it takes these matters seriously. It had issued an emergency order in October, requiring railway operators to increase measures in place to prevent runaway trains.

The order was responding to recommendations from the federal watchdog, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, as part of its investigation into the 2013 train crash that killed 47 people and destroyed buildings in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic.

The Canadian transport and environment departments also filed new charges on Monday against several individuals and two companies in connection with the Lac-Megantic accident - Montreal Maine & Atlantic Canada Railway Ltd and its affiliate, the Montreal Maine & Atlantic Canada Co. - for allegedly violating federal railway safety and environmental laws. [ID: nL1N0Z813U] (Reporting by Mike De Souza; Editing by Leslie Adler)