Statement by Minister Garneau on the Issuing of a Ministerial Order to Central Maine Quebec Railway in Lac-Mégantic


September 6, 2019    Lac-Mégantic (Quebec)    Transport Canada

The Honorable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, today issued the following statement:

“The tragedy of July 6, 2013 in Lac-Mégantic will forever remain in our collective memory. I would like to say once again that rail safety remains my top priority, and that I will continue to do everything within my authority to improve it.

“During an inspection last May, Transport Canada inspectors identified a number of deficiencies on a 125-mile section of the Central Maine Quebec Railway (CMQR) rail line between Farnham and Lac-Mégantic. The presence of defective rails and ties, as well as mud spots and ballast conditions, among other things, was observed in some locations.

“A review of the documentation and analysis of data from ultrasonic inspections conducted by CMQR also revealed the presence of 253 defective rails on this same section. A speed limit of 10 miles per hour was also implemented on some sections as an additional precautionary measure.

“The department immediately took action by ordering CMQR to repair all defects, increase the frequency of its ultrasonic inspections, and provide the results of these inspections to Transport Canada.

“Since then, CMQR has informed Transport Canada that the 253 defects have been corrected on this section of the track.

“As Minister of Transport, to ensure that no compromise is made regarding rail safety, I issued a Ministerial Order under section 32.01 of the Railway Safety Act to oblige CMQR to:

  • perform three ultrasonic inspections over the next 12 months and provide the results to Transport Canada;
  • repair deficiencies, including the presence of mud spots and ballast conditions by October 15, 2019;
  • maintain the speed limit already in effect on certain sections, until corrective actions have been implemented, and Transport Canada inspectors have completed their checks;
  • conduct an internal review of its railway inspection and maintenance procedures, to ensure that sound engineering management principles are applied, and that procedures are clear, well understood and followed by its employees.

“Transport Canada officials will analyze the results of the inspections carried out by CMQR. In the coming days, they will also carry out on-site inspections to ensure that the corrective actions comply with railway safety standards and regulations, and inspect the 125-mile section of rail lines between Farnham and Lac-Mégantic.

“Transport Canada conducts approximately 33,000 rail safety inspections annually. My department will continue to monitor the rail network, and I will not hesitate to take any further necessary action swiftly to ensure public safety.”

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Delphine Denis
Manager of Media Relations
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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