Canadians deserve better rail safety, federal funding: transportation ministers

Rail safety is expected to dominate the agenda when provincial transportation ministers meet with their federal counterpart for the first time since the deadly train derailment in Quebec.

WINNIPEG — Rail safety is expected to dominate the agenda when provincial transportation ministers meet with their federal counterpart for the first time since the deadly train derailment in Quebec.

Manitoba Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said Canadians deserve better rail safety measures in the wake of the Lac Megantic derailment in July which decimated the town’s core and killed 47 people.

“This should be top of the agenda and the focus should be on constructive discussion about how we can learn from what happened and hopefully ensure something like that never happens again,” Ashton said in an interview ahead of Wednesday’s meeting in Winnipeg.

The issue has remained under scrutiny with two train derailments in Calgary over the summer, as well as a tragic collision earlier this month between an Ottawa transit bus and VIA passenger train which killed six people and left more than 30 injured.

The federal government should consider re-routing trains carrying hazardous goods so they don’t go through populated areas, Ashton said.

Trucks carrying hazardous materials regularly detour city centres while trains generally cut right through them, he added.