Canadian regulator seeks CN Rail safety plan after derailments

Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:40am EDT
 
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TORONTO, March 25 (Reuters) - Regulator Transport Canada has issued a notice to Canadian National Railway Co requesting a plan to ensure safety along the Ruel subdivision, where three trains derailed in fewer than 30 days in February and March, the railway said on Wednesday.

The notice, given on March 12 but not previously reported, was given under the Railway Safety Act.

CN Rail spokesman Mark Hallman said the company has already advised Transport Canada of actions taken to improve safety in the area, including increased track inspections and a speed restriction.

"CN plans to submit its formal response to Transport Canada's RSA notice, with additional updates on the action plan it's already submitted to the department, within the next week," he said in an email.

Hallman said trains carrying more than 20 cars of flammable liquids have been limited to 35 miles per hour from Winnipeg to Capreol, a town near Sudbury in northern Ontario, for a 60-day period. He said the changes have not affected the "overall fluidity" of CN's network in the region.

Last week Canada's transportation watchdog said track failures may have played a role in all three derailments. Two ignited large crude oil fires.

On Monday, Reuters reported that CN's safety record deteriorated sharply in 2014, reversing years of improvements as accidents blamed on poor track conditions spiked. (Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)