Rail accidents up

Year Published:  1990  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX4097

Abstract:  The number of railyard accidents in Canada is up significantly from last year. A spokesman for a watchdog group, Harry Behrend of the Metro Toronto Residents Action Committee, puts the blame on the federal government's deregulation of the rail industry. According to Behrend, the government is neglecting its responsibility to supervise rail safety. "They are letting the companies be their own patrollers." "There is pressure on the government to make exceptions to the rule" because of competitive pressures on the rail companies, said Harry Gow, president of Transport 2000. "It is easier to make exceptions rather than providing assistance to railways to make them competitive." Gow's remarks were challenged by CP rail spokesman Paul Thurston, who said that "we conduct ourselves as if there was always a federal rail inspector watching us." However, a report by the National Transportation Agency reveals that rail officials at several rail yards say that there is an "informal agreement with Transport Canada which allows 10 per cent of its cars to be found and placed in service despite one or more minimum-safety standards defects." According to Harry Gow, the underlying problem is that "the overall structure of Canadian railways is crumbling away" under the pressure of government anti-railway policies.

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