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October 27, 2017 10:01 pm

CN and City Working to Protect Aquifer

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 @ 6:00 AM

Prince George, B.C.- “We know we  have a long history in Prince George,  but it has not been a perfect history.”  Those were among the opening  words of   Emile Scheffel, B.C. Regional Lead of Community Affairs for CN Rail as he made a presentation on CN Rail’s safety culture to Prince George City Council..

The presentation comes  just a few months after a report indicated the aquifer, from which the City of Prince George  draws  much of its water supply,  is at risk should there be  a derailment and spill of dangerous goods  just west of the downtown rail yard.

Councillor Garth Frizzell  wanted to know more about some work  being under taken in Prince George,   as the report called for  reduced train speeds and increased  track maintenance as well as  advance notice of the dangerous goods in order to  further protect  the aquifer should there be a  derailment  just west of the downtown  CN yards.  Scheffel  says there has been work  done on the issue “Anytime you have a vital  public resource like water, it is a good time to  talk”  said Scheffel,   He says the first meeting  with CN and the City took place last week “The working group is there, and we are going to keep working”.  He says the  6 mile stretch of track is “a pretty  safe stretch of track” because  there is a slight uphill grade,  and trains are only going about 15-17 kms/hour as they head west,   and when coming into the  yard  they are already reducing speed.

CN also has a special app   which can be downloaded  to  the phones of  emergency responders.  The app  allows  the user to  enter the  rail car identifier number  and get  full details on the contents of that rail car.  He says the app has already been downloaded by  6  Prince George Fire Rescue  members.

Track  near the aquifer  is  visually inspected daily says Scheffel.  He says  advance notice of dangerous goods  is available  to  first responders  if they use the  app.

Some of the safety features on the rail lines  include a  detection system about  every 20 kms to detect issues,  in addition to technology that  provides  information on the condition of the ties and the rails themselves.

He says  a new report from Transport Canada indicates  CN’s reportable incidents have dropped by more than 40%  in the first six months of this year compared to the same period a year ago.

CN is spending $2.75 billion on  safety and rail upgrades this year says Scheffel.

He says CN is working with local governments on a continuous basis to keep them informed on the type of  cargo   moving through  a community.  He says that information is already being shared with  local emergency response  services in local communities. including the nature and volume of  goods moving through a  community.  He says there will be  two reports per year  providing that information as of  the fall of this year,  and  by 2018 that information will be  increased to quarterly reports by 2018.


“I am pleased to hear there is a growing working relationship between our yard folks and first responders on what is  coming  through  our city” said Mayor Lyn Hall.



CN hasn’t been held responsible for anything for years.
their favorite by line…
no harm, no foul, no one killed (government get lost {and they do})
why should we think they will be held responsible for their “word” now?

They have been killing moose, elk, deer for years now and they plain just don’t give a s*it!

    You must have a solution?

    Well then ice how do you propose to fix the problem of animals being killed most of which are during the winter months. How do you propose that the 8-15 foot high snow banks lining certain areas of the tracks be dealt with how do you propose to deal with animals that get trapped on the rail bridges be saved and how do you propose the rail crews deal with it

    It is very easy to point a finger and blame people and this isn’t a new problem so how do you propose to fix it or are you all wind and bluster

On a more positive note, maybe this is the start of CN actually sharing some information with first responders…………?

Currently, it is difficult if not impossible to learn what is in those cars, on that train, going through your area,
until after it crashes and maybe spills, then you stay far away trying to figure out what it is so that it can be dealt with.

This issue over the water wells for P.G. is very important, and needs to be talked about, but the issue has been around for a long time.

The bigger issue here is that
CN trains pass through many communities and go across many level crossings carrying dangerous goods and we don’t know what is in the cars unless something bad happens.

That has to change.

    “Currently, it is difficult if not impossible to learn what is in those cars, on that train, going through your area,,”

    Hi Metalman..”Difficult” but not “impossible” take the UN Number off the placards and anyone can find out what’s being transported. If you have a smartphone download the canutec manual or ERG (emergency response guidebook..) or just to a quick google search of the UN Number.

    example: google UN 1075..

      Point taken, thank you.
      I was not sure that railcars had to have what I used to call TDG placards (same thing right?) thought that was an over the road thing.
      Guess I must be out of date, no surprise there….
      And UN1075 denotes LPG


Thanks Northman. Most people have no clue when it comes to railroads, and what they are required to do, especially when it comes to the handling of dangerous goods.

All rail cars and trucks have to be placarded and the UN number tells you what the car/truck contains, how it affects people and the environment and how to deal with it. Emergency response teams are available not only by the railways, but also by the pulp mills, and any other business that deals with dangerous goods on a daily basis.

When you consider that railways have been handling dangerous goods through Prince George for 100 years, along with the trucking industry, plus the fact that the pulp mills have been handling dangerous goods for 65 years more or less, plus Husky refinery, Chemtrade, FMC (Peroxy) you have to conclude that they know what they are doing.

They are all subject Government inspections.

Those railway employee’s who need to know whats on a train get advance notice of every train that leaves Edmonton coming to Prince George, and they are fully aware of whats on the trains, whether or not they are dangerous and where they are located on the train.

This in just standard railway procedure. The problem comes when laymen try be become experts on a subject they know very little about.

I would be a lot more concerned about people who smoke while fueling their cars. Now that’s a scary situation.

Start by pushing the snow far enough back to give adequate escape points. Maybe build a lot more overpasses. Big game sensors along the tracks to warn engineers of animals on or near the tracks. Scooter patrols up and down the tracks to herd animals away from the tracks,drones?? Fencing in critical areas. Speed limits for trains during high impact times. SMART mouth anything that you can think of to add instead of your usual bullshit. Don’t say it costs money to do this because we all know that… you just cant keep maiming, crippling, running them over until its too goddam late! Last but not least move the whole railline well, well away from rivers.

ice. Railways all across North America follow the rivers. This was and probably still is the cheapest way to build a railway.

If you think that relocating railways is a solution, then your living in a dream world. That will never happen.

I agree that there must be some ways that the railways can reduce this carnage, however in this day and age when you are running trains that are 2 miles in length you need a few miles just to stop the train, and then of course you have to get it up to speed again. Once you start stopping and starting trains to avoid hitting animals, then you have basically backed up trains all across the Country. Freight and passenger trains run of schedules.

As usual we will go out in the bush and blow the head of a moose, and then complain about one getting hit by a train. In both instances the moose is dead. I am sure that from the moose’s point of view it would appreciate it if we stopped all the killing, not just rail and road kill, but hunting, and of course the big one, urban sprawl.

How many moose were killed off by locating the University in prime moose habitant.?? How many moose are killed because of the continual harassment by snowmobilers, motorcycles, and other vehicles running through the bush scaring the hell out of every living thing.??

Much more to this problem than rail kill.

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