CN Rail far less safe last year

CN, whose trains run through Weston, was far less safe in 2014 than in previous years, according to the Globe and Mail. CN recently had two fiery train crashes in northern Ontario, and, like other railways, uses dangerous tanker cars to carry oil.

Canadian National Railway’s safety record deteriorated sharply in 2014, reversing years of improvements, as accidents in Canada blamed on poor track conditions hit their highest level in more than five years, a Reuters analysis has found.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said on Tuesday that track failure may have played a role in CN’s three recent Ontario accidents, which have fueled calls for tougher regulation. The agency said oil unit trains, made up entirely of tank cars, could make tracks more susceptible to failure.

Transport Canada has proposed modifications to tanker cars that would make them safer by 2025.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.

5 thoughts on “CN Rail far less safe last year”

  1. It’s the Canadian Pacific Railway whose freight trains run through Weston.

    The old Canadian National Railway line, formerly part of the Brampton Subdivision, was acquired by GO Transit and is now sunk into the tunnel. As of a few years ago, the CNR retained some local service to the portlands but these were local “jobs” only, not likely much oil. As of now I don’t believe the CNR runs any more trains through Weston.

    The CPR does, I believe, run oil unit trains through Weston, so your concern remains valid.

  2. My understanding is that when GO Transit acquired the ex-Brampton sub circa 2009 (correction – actually called the Weston sub at the time of the transfer; it was formerly the Brampton sub), CN stipulated in the agreement that they would continue to retain some right to run trains. This was for the purposes of accessing the port lands and local industry (such as Irving, whose connections have since been severed). At this time, the Weston sub was very infrequently serviced anyway, about 3 trains per day, because the CN had long since been routing its freight around the city (since 1965).

    As I said, CN’s local trains still ran as of a few years ago, although they were, I believe, always run at night.
    On checking my facts a little more extensively, some sources suggest they still service the line… this is a surprise to me, I had heard elsewhere that they had stopped.

    Keep in mind, these things are seldom announced by the railway companies in press releases, but rather they depend on the observations of a small but obsessively devoted group of rail-fans.

    ANYWAY, regardless of whether trains are running or not, CN still retains its agreement with GO on paper, hence the map.
    I can try to set your mind at ease a little though:
    1. If the main safety concern is poorly maintained track (and it is), they’re running on GO transit’s Kitchener line which is first rate, and brand new.
    2. These trains are most certainly not carrying oil. They would be short, local freight trains taking goods to and from the port; grain, bulk freight, that kind of thing.
    3. If you did have a derailed CN oil train in Weston, since it’s running in the tunnel, it cannot possibly find its way down King Street.

    With respect to the CPR, however, their line through Weston is still very much active and it is part of their principal mainline (Mactier sub) along which anything coming from the west has to transit in order to reach southern Ontario. This would include oil bound for the refineries at Sarnia.

  3. One further clarification.

    Both CN and CPR have or had their own, separate tracks.

    The (former) CN line and the CPR line are parallel to each other and run along the same corridor. The CPR line turns northwards just before Oak Street (beside the Satin Finish factory). The (former) CN line turns west and crosses the river.

    When you proceed across the tracks at Church or King Street, the ones which are still there, and not in the tunnel, are the CPR ones. I expect the reason that no consideration was ever given to sinking these in a tunnel as well, is because the huge long freights the CPR runs could not “make the grade” out of the tunnel, which is quite steep.

  4. We are very concerned about the safety records of the rail system generally. The government still permits oil to travel through our neighbourhoods at speeds which cause the cars to break and explode (as in Gogama last month).
    CN appeared before the Commons Transportation Committee last week and I got them to agree to make public their risk assessment for the corridor. Thus far Transport Canada was refusing to release it. Now we need to have CP do the same.
    We have also noticed that CP has moved its freight traffic to the easternmost track, which Metrolinx moved 12 feet closer to the homes last year. They have ripped up the westernmost track. It was widely expected locally that CP would put their freight back on that track. There is also a crash barrier wall erected by Metrolinx to protect its tunnel from a CP derailment. Nothing to protect the homes. And of course no noise abatement for the CP line. I intend to press CP and the federal government Ministry of Transportation and Metrolinx on all these issues.

Comments are closed.