Transport Canada Revises Rules for Key Train Handling

FEDERAL AGENCY CODIFIES AD HOC MINISTERIAL ORDERS IN RESPONSE TO LAC MEGANTIC DISASTER AND ANTICIPATED CRUDE-BY-RAIL SURGE

23.February, Ottawa ON – Transport Canada approved changes to the Rules Respecting Key Trains and Key Routes, as a measure to ensure the reliable transportation of dangerous goods by rail in colder weather, and the protection of both railway workers and those living near Canada’s rail corridors.

These changes make permanent Ministerial Orders that were put in place in 2020, to address important risk factors for derailments caused by railway infrastructure, especially during winter operations.

The revised Rules Respecting Key Trains and Key Routes, under the Railway Safety Act, now:

  • Require railway companies to develop a winter operation plan that is specific to each subdivision where higher risk key trains operate, which must be approved by a professional engineer;
  • Require use of new technology to detect a broken rail in areas where it is not currently present;
  • Strengthen track inspection (increased frequency and improved quality) and track maintenance requirements (i.e., ultrasonically testing replacement rail and improved record-keeping); and,
  • Define a ‘higher risk key train’ as a train carrying large quantities of crude oil or liquid petroleum gases and prescribe speed restrictions for these trains.