Canadian Pacific ordered to correct alleged rail safety violation

Thu Sep 10, 2015 3:45pm EDT
 
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By Allison Martell

TORONTO, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Canada's transport regulator has ordered Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd to address a new alleged safety violation after it found the company was not doing a mandatory brake safety test on some of its trains in Western Canada, according to a letter obtained by Reuters.

An inspector from Transport Canada told the company in the Sept. 3 letter that it had confirmed CP was not doing a required emergency brake test on trains originating in Moose Jaw, a town in the Canadian prairie province of Saskatchewan.

"This information has been confirmed by conversations with Moose Jaw mechanical supervisors and staff that this is the current process," wrote the inspector in the letter.

The test checks whether when emergency brakes are activated from the locomotive controlling the train, they are actually applied on the last car of that train, the letter said.

The letter follows revelations from June that CP was under investigation for allegedly failing to apply adequate brakes when parking a train carrying oil on a mountain slope in British Columbia.

Emergency brakes and railway safety have been areas of special concern since July 2013 when a runaway train, operated by the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Canada Railway Ltd and its affiliate, crashed, killing 47 people and destroying buildings in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic.

In an internal newsletter on Thursday, the union representing CP's rail car mechanics said it told the regulator about the latest issue after the company instructed workers to stop doing the emergency brake test on the last car of trains from Moose Jaw.

The regulator asked CP in its Sept 3 letter to provide details of action to correct the alleged violation of Canada's Railway Safety Act within 14 days.

The regulator and CP were not immediately able to answer questions about the letter. (Writing by Mike De Souza in Calgary; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)