New rail line to bypass Lac-Mégantic center

Written by Stuart Chirls, Senior Editor
Lac-Mégantic bypass

Map of proposed bypass around the center of Lac-Mégantic. The route to be constructed is in yellow.

A new rail line will be constructed to bypass a Quebec village where dozens died in a fiery derailment in 2013.

Canada’s federal government and the province will fund construction of the C$133-million, 11-kilometer route around Lac-Mégantic where a 75-car runaway train hauling crude oil derailed, resulting in explosions and fire, killing 47 and destroying the center of town.

Ottawa will pick up 60% of the cost with Quebec paying the remainder.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard are expected in Lac-Mégantic Friday to make the official announcement.

Employees of the defunct Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway were acquitted on criminal charges related to the wreck; several executives were later ordered to pay fines for environmental violations.

Quebec’s environmental review board in 2017 held hearings in the community to evaluate three proposed routes for the new track.

The bypass will begin west of the village of Frontenac and cross the Chaudière River, then run parallel to existing tracks in Lac-Mégantic’s industrial sector before ending at the intersection of highways 161 and 262.

Construction will begin in 2019 and is expected to take two years to complete.

Two meetings are scheduled this week with the mayor of Lac-Mégantic and residents.

Categories: Freight, News, Safety, Short Lines & Regionals Tags: , ,