The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada has recently discovered more than 100 rail incidents that were not reported by Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian National Railway and Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway (CBC News).
The TSB recently received a large number of records from CN Rail, dating back a number of years, including accidents or incidents that should have been reported to the TSB when they occurred. This is in addition to the over 1,800 derailments and other accidents that CN did not report over a 6-year period, as revealed by a CBC investigation several months ago.
The TSB also became concerned about CP Rail in early 2013 after discovering the company changed how it was reporting accidents. Based on a request by the TSB for more information, CP came back with another 150 occurrences that should have been reported when they took place. Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway, the company responsible for the July 2013 Lac-Megantic oil train disaster that killed 47 people, also failed to report accidents including a number of uncontrolled runaway trains.
A few weeks ago, University of Calgary economist Jennifer Winter called on the federal government to provide better public access to rail safety data in the wake of a string of fiery derailments and explosions in Canada and the U.S. involving crude oil and other dangerous goods. Winter said, “This rash of disasters has led the public and policy-makers to question how safe are Canadian railroads?…Accuracy of data is important because mis-measured data can give a false sense of the true state of rail safety in Canada.” A rail company has never been fined in Canada for failing to report derailments and other accidents.
The public is quickly losing confidence in Canadian railways because of their cavalier approach to reporting derailments and other accidents. See CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents for hundreds of additional examples. Transporting crude oil and other dangerous goods by rail will become even more hazardous as the volume of tank car traffic increases significantly over the coming months and years.