Dangerous rail cars concern Ashcroft Council

Councillors worried about the number of old DOT-111 storage cars still in use carrying volatile fuel.

Ashcroft Council is eyeing the train tracks that run parallel to the Thompson and wondering what’s going to roll through town next.

Council discussed rail safety at its March 10 meeting after reviewing a news article that looked at the rail cars involved in the Lac-Megantic explosion last summer, and quoted government and rail officials who spoke about the growing volume of crude oil being shipped by car and the need to replace the old cars currently being used.

“It’s shocking to me,” said Coun. Helen Kormendy, “that the Feds won’t do anything about it. I’m very concerned about this.”

According to the article, “Experts put the cost of retrofitting tank cars at btween $20,000 and $70,000 each. Of the 228,000 DOT-111s [cars] in service in North America, about 92,000 carry flammable liquids and 14,000 of those are new, stronger cars built after October 2011. That means about 72,000 cars would have to be retrofitted.”

“How can we, as a municipality, be assured of safety, given the track record of these tank cars?” she asked.

“I, too, am concerned,” said Coun. Alice Durksen. “Just hearing about how much oil is transported by rail… We need to say something. We need to be proactive about it.”

Mayor Andy Anderson noted that retrofitting 72,000 cars at $20,000 each “is pretty cheap” considering how much the Lac-Megantic tragedy cost everyone.

RCMP Sgt. Michel Grondin was at the Council meeting on a different matter, but was asked if his office was contacted about dangerous materials being moved through the area by train.

Grondin said they normally are notified by the rail companies if there is something dangerous coming through. Usually they get four days notice, but there isn’t anything they can do to stop it.

Administrator Michelle Allen pointed out that CN and CP were going to levy a surcharge on customers still using the old cars.

“These are private cars,” said Kormendy. “[The railways] should be refusing to use them. Levying a surcharge is not improving safety.”

Council voted to write to the Prime Minister, Minister of Transportation, MP Mark Strahl, CN and CP urging them to deal with the matter and asking what their plans are.

Just Posted

Cache Creek landfill extension set for September completion

Project has been delayed due to wildfires and floods over past two years

Drag races set to return for Graffiti Days weekend

Annual event features old favourites like the smoke show, and new events like a drive-in movie

Bonaparte River fishway, Thompson steelhead among projects awarded grant funding

More than $9 million will help 170 fish and wildlife projects around B.C.

Wellness clinics provide free, drop-in health information

New service in Clinton helps patients manage their health care and stay out of hospital

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Most Read