Saturday, April 4, 2015

Tougher Rail Safety Regulations needed


An article in today's Star (April 4, 2015) speaks of Toronto's Mayor and 17 councillors writing the federal Transport minister asking for tougher rail safety regulations.  Kudos to them.

Milton Mayor and councillors should also be demanding the same thing. One train length can block three Milton intersections at one time.  I don't recall how many level crossing there are across Milton but there many.  Currently there are two grade separations under construction but with price tags of multi- multimillion dollars it's totally impractical and unreasonable to treat all crossings the same way.

But constructing grade separations won't make the tracks safer.  It's the basic infrastructure, rules and regulations, and training, that need to be addressed, that need the investment. I would personally also question the number of employees on any one train.  There have been considerable cuts to manpower over the years: are we getting by (legally to be sure but is it enough) with too few to take the train from point A to point B?

After Lac-M├ęgantic  and other rail disasters, we shouldn't have to plead for better rail safety regulations.  It's well past time when funds should have been invested into critical infrastructure - or have the rail companies determined that it's cheaper to pay off lawsuits than to make the repairs, as the automobile industry* has been known to do? 

"CP has stated it is on pace to move 70,000 carloads of crude oil this year (2014) across its North American network, up from 53,500 carloads last year."  For the sake of every life, we need the assurance that that cargo is being moved safely through our towns, cities, villages and farmlands; across rivers and streams; through the mountains and across the plains.

Back to my opening paragraph, it shouldn't be a case of the loudest voices getting the best response- or the squeaky wheel getting the oil.  Our Transport minister and the entire government should be standing up for all Canadians to ensure our collective safety BEFORE there's another Lac-M├ęgantic . It's the ethical thing to do. Even the loss of one life to negligence is one life too many. 


* from https://hbr.org/2011/04/ethical-breakdowns.

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