Railway companies carrying large quantities of crude oil or liquefied petroleum gas will be forced to maintain lower speeds in metropolitan areas under new safety measures now implemented in Canada in an effort to reduce train derailments.
Federal Minister of Transportation Marc Garneau announced the measures Friday through three different ministerial orders.
“Rail safety remains my top priority, and the Government of Canada is continuously looking for ways to make our railway system even safer for Canadians,” Garneau said in a news statement.
“I recognize that railway operations in Canada are carried out in a highly complex and difficult environment, but I believe that a strong response is warranted after the series of derailments of trains carrying crude oil.”
There are new speed restrictions for key trains and higher-risk key trains.
Key trains have one or more loaded tank cars of dangerous goods that are toxic by inhalation or contain 20 or more tank cars containing dangerous goods.
Higher-risk key trains carry crude oil or liquefied petroleum gases in a continuous block of 20 or more tank cars or 35 or more tank cars dispersed throughout the train.
Following measures first put in place on Feb. 16, 2020, in response to the derailments of trains carrying crude oil that occurred earlier this winter, higher risk key trains with further mandatory speed reductions everywhere during the winter months from Nov. 15 to March 15.
Speed limit restrictions are also being put in place, such as higher-risk trains having to reduce speed to 30 kilometres an hour between March 16 to Nov. 14 in metropolitan areas, 50 kilometre an hour where there are track signals.
In addition to the speed restrictions, this order also directs companies to address the management of their track maintenance and inspection.
The second and third ministerial orders were issued to direct railway companies to update the current industry rules governing track safety, and the movement of dangerous goods in Canada.
These orders will ensure these measures to reduce train speeds and improve maintenance and inspection practices become a permanent part of safer railway operations in Canada.