In the last three years, oil train traffic has increased 10-fold. These unsafe trains are speeding through our neighbourhoods on tracks as old and worn as those in Lac-Mégantic, the site of a deadly explosion that rocked the nation in 2013.
Instead of treating the Lac-Mégantic tragedy as a wake-up call, the federal government actually cut safety rules and train inspectors to appease US rail companies. Our government should put our communities first.
Train accidents continue to happen in Canada at a rate of 3 per day.1 The math is simple. With millions of explosive barrels of oil passing through our communities2, it’s just a matter of time before the next tragedy.
Rail companies’ record profits shouldn’t come at the expense of our safety. Canada needs common sense solutions to keep our economy moving while protecting our towns and neighbourhoods from unnecessary risk.
- Communities have a right to know. Rail companies don’t have to immediately notify communities of what risky material they are transporting—in fact, local politicians have even been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements to keep you from knowing.
- Reroute dangerous oil trains. Oil trains are barreling through populated areas and they don’t need to be.
- Reduce the speed of oil trains. Right now, oil trains can travel above the rate of speed at which tanker cars can be punctured in a crash.
- Get out-of-date tanker cars off the rails. Safety standards have improved but rail companies won’t take unsafe tanker cars (TC 111s and TP 14877s) off the rails until they have to.
- Limit the length of oil trains to 20 cars. Many trains have 100 cars are more, putting communities at risk on a scale much greater than Lac-Mégantic.
- Reverse the cuts to rail inspectors. A year after the Lac-Mégantic disaster, the federal government actually cut the number of rail inspectors.
- Keep the most volatile oil off the rails. Diluted bitumen and Bakken crude are much more volatile than other oils—and can be refined to reduce their volatility. They shouldn’t be on our train tracks.