Representatives from CN Rail visited Smithers on Tuesday night for a town hall meeting to address concerns over rail safety standards and emergency procedures.
High on the agenda was the issue of lengthy emergency responses times, which drew the ire of many in the audience.
In the event of a major accident, CN stated that emergency response teams will either drive or fly in from Richmond or Edmonton. The company estimated a 12-14 hour response time, though one former railroad engineer in the audience called that time frame “extremely optimistic.”
Other issues discussed included: insurance levels and clean up costs in the wake of a disaster, faulty rail cars and CN rail’s safety track record and safety incident reporting standards.
Town councillors and fire chiefs in attendance also discussed ways to improve upon current safety standards and emergency response procedures.
For a full report, check the March 12 edition of the Interior News.