August 2, 2013 / 11:54 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. sets rules to prevent type of rail crash that hit Quebec town

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. rail safety regulator issued rules on Friday meant to prevent the kind of runaway fuel-train accident that devastated a Canadian town last month.

Mourners walk the perimeter of the red zone as rescue workers line the streets following a memorial service to honour the victims of the train derailment in Lac Megantic, Quebec July 27, 2013. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Under the rules, rail cars carrying hazardous materials like combustibles may not be left unattended on main tracks or adjacent tracks unless specifically authorized.

Railroads must boost their safety procedures and record-keeping for trains that carry hazardous material and are braked, according to the rules from the Federal Railroad Administration.

Last month, a parked train carrying crude oil broke loose and crashed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, exploding into a fireball that killed 47 people. It was North America’s worst rail disaster in two decades.

“Safety is our top priority,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

“While we wait for the full investigation (of the Canadian incident) to conclude, the Department is taking steps today to help prevent a similar incident from occurring in the United States.”

Reporting by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Peter Cooney

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