Sunday, May 18, 2014

Central Maine & Quebec Plans to Resume Unit Oil Trains!

Less than a year following the rail disaster in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, yesterdays headline on the Concord Monitor sends a chilling message, "CEO hopes town where 47 died will okay oil trains."

"John Giles, president and CEO of Central Maine and Quebec Railway, said he hopes to have an agreement with Lac-Mégantic officials within 10 days that would allow the railroad to ship nonhazardous goods, restoring the vital link between the railroad's operations to the east and west of the community.

"The company plans to spend $10 million on rail improvements in Canada over the next two years with a goal of resuming oil shipments in 18 months.

"In the interest of safety, and I think being sensitive toward a social contract with Lac Mégantic, we have chosen not to handle crude oil and dangerous goods through the city until we've got the railroad infrastructure improved, and made more reliable."

And how do the residents of Lac Mégantic react to this stunning revelation? 

"People are still in distress, in pain, facing financial problems and we're talking about the train company starting up," the owner of the Musi-Cafe told The Canadian Press on Friday.

Musi-Cafe was adjacent to the explosion, resulting in the deaths of several patrons.

The devastated section of the town still smells of Bakken Crude.

"We're still in survival mode, we have no revenue." Gagne said he and others in  continue to struggle to survive. "I find it deplorable that we're surviving with the help of the Red Cross, with small amounts every week."

Gagne also said residents will be very angry when they find out the new railway is already talking about moving tankers through the town again.

Thursday afternoon (May 15) paperwork was completed for the new Central Maine & Québec Railway (CMQ) to take over the U.S. operations of the bankrupt Montréal, Maine & Atlantic.

The new railroad says that it will use two-person crews on all trains. Montreal Maine & Atlantic (MM&A) operated with just an engineer, who conducted switch moves with a remote control package.

A fleet second-hand leased EMD SD40-2s and GP20s will replace MMAs second-hand General Electric power.

Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, who recently signed the death warrant for DOT-111 tank cars, pointed out that her department was not involved in the agreement between Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway and Lac Mégantic.

"I continue to follow this matter very closely," she wrote in an email. "As this is a matter between a private company and the municipality, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

By the way, has anyone seen Ed Burkhardt around lately?


Today marks the 34th anniversary of the day 1 square mile of BNSF property went up - in ash!

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