Digest: Canada to require new switching rules after fatal accident (updated)

News Wire Digest for Oct. 9: Quebec tourist train shuts down permanently; CP project in British Columbia to close trail
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Friday morning Canadian rail news:


Canadian government to require new switching rules as a result of fatal 2017 accident

The Canadian government is requiring railroads to develop new rules for switching operations as a result of a Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigation into a fatal accident at Canadian National’s Melville, Saskatchwan, yard in 2017. In a news release, Canada’s Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, announced a ministerial order (available here) requiring railroads to address circumstances in which cars can be kicked; requirements for switching including a prohibition on employees getting off or on equipment in motion; and rules for use of remote-controlled locomotives. In addition, Transport Canada will revise its regulations regarding rail employee qualifications to strengthen oversight and address gaps relating to experience and training. The action reflect Transportation Safety Board finding in which a crew member was killed when trying to stop three free-rolling hopper cars which had been shoved uphill with insufficient force and began to roll back downhill [see “Inexperience a factor in fatal CN accident …” News Wire Digest, June 10, 2020.]

Orford Express tourist train ceases operations

Quebec’s Orford Express tourist train has ceased operations for good. A notice on the company website says parent company PAL+ has made the decision, after the operation was idled for several months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, because of “several factors including the growth and development of the group’s other businesses.” Those include hotel, restaurants, and the Escapdes Memphremagog gourmet cruise ship. The message continues, “PAL+ would like to sincerely thank all the employees and partners who have contributed to the success of this tourist attraction. Over the past 14 years, some 350,000 people have visited the Eastern Townships region aboard the train. We have much to be proud of!” The company says it will be in contact shortly with anyone holding reservations for 2021.



CP track project to permanently close Kamloops trail
Canadian Pacific is advising residents of Kamloops, British Columbia, that a popular but unofficial walking path will be permanently closed next month as it adds an additional track along its main line. On its website, the railroad notes that the Jack Gregson Trail, which follows the South Thompson River in Kamloops’ Valleyview neighborhood, is an “unofficial path, which came about through casual use” and is located on CP’s right-of-way. It will be permanently closed as of Nov. 9. The additional track will accommodate increased traffic to mining company Teck Resources’ Neptune Bulk Terminal in North Vancouver, B.C.

— Updated Oct. 10 at 8:15 p.m. to correct Orford Express situation to permanent closure.


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