Monday, December 16, 2013

Rail service in Lac-Mégantic to resume

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Freight rail service will begin traversing the right-of-way in and around Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, limited at first to trains hauling dry goods.

Lac-Mégantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche told local media rail service will be restored gradually, in order to respect the sensitivities of the municipality, rocked by the deaths of 47 people last July when a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway(MM&A) train derailed and exploded.

MM&A has pledged to carry no oil products through the town, but Lac-Megantic is concerned that the pledge will falter once the railway is sold to another company. MM&A has filed for creditor protection, with assets expected to be sold before February.

Last week the Canadian federal government ordered Transport Canada to severely penalize crude oil shippers who they say continue to evade a directive that they test the contents of tank cars before classifying them as hazardous materials for crude by rail (CBR) transportation.

Last month Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt issued a directive that requires railroads to provide annual information to municipalities on the volume and nature of hazmat being transported through their jurisdictions.

Hermon, Maine-based MM&A is a subsidiary of Chicago-based Rail World, Inc. Among the reported bidders seeking to acquire the MM&A is Railroad Acquisition Holdings LLC, an affiliate of New York-based investment firm Fortress Investment Group.