Transport Canada orders CN to limit all northbound trains in
Squamish area to a maximum of 80 cars
December 12, 2005
Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre today announced a Notice and Order has been issued to the Canadian
National Railway Company (CN) to limit the length of their trains to 80 cars while operating northbound between
Squamish and Clinton, B.C. The recent derailments have all occurred while trains have been traveling north.
“I am very concerned about the number of derailments in the Squamish area and that’s why we are further
restricting CN’s operations,” said Mr. Lapierre. “As a safety precaution we are limiting the length of all CN trains
operating northbound in the Squamish area, until CN can demonstrate that they can operate longer trains safely
on that route.”
Under a previous Notice and Order, issued on November 4, 2005, Transport Canada restricted the length of CN’
s conventional trains on the Squamish route to 80 cars. Today’s Notice and Order further restricts CN’s
operations in the interest of public safety and covers all trains, including those using distributed power.
A conventional train has locomotives at the front of the train pulling the rail cars. A distributed power operated
train has locomotives at the front of the train as well as in the body of the train to push and pull the rail cars. This
distributes power and traction more equally throughout the length of the train.
In November, Transport Canada required CN to provide Transport Canada with a detailed analysis of their
distributed power operated train operations in the Squamish area and a comprehensive risk assessment of any
changes CN has made to BC Rail’s operating instructions. CN was asked to focus their analysis and
assessment on train length, equipment, track conditions and speed. Transport Canada has received CN’s
analysis and risk assessment and is currently reviewing both documents.
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is currently investigating the recent CN derailments to determine the
causes. Transport Canada is closely following the TSB’s ongoing investigation through a Minister’s Observer
who was appointed after the accidents. The Minister’s Observer will advise the department of any regulatory
responsibilities the department may have, and identify areas where immediate improvements to safety can be
As the railway regulator, Transport Canada is responsible under the Railway Safety Act for promoting, monitoring
and enforcing compliance with existing rules and regulations. A Notice and Order is issued under Section 31 of
the Railway Safety Act, when in the opinion of a Transport Canada railway safety inspector, there is an
immediate threat to safe railway operations.
Source: Transport Canada
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