OTTAWA, Nov. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - The rail sector is squarely focused on
improving an already strong safety record as it remains the backbone of
Canada's domestic and international supply chains, said Michael
Bourque, President and CEO of the Railway Association of Canada, today as part of National Rail Day.
Bourque, speaking on behalf of the industry at the Economic Club of
Canada, began by addressing how July's tragic derailment in
Lac-Mégantic, QC deeply affected the men and women across the industry
and in the RAC's membership.
"We are working very hard to prevent this from happening again and to
reassure Canadians that railways are learning from this accident and
taking immediate action on a number of fronts," said Bourque.
"For example, over the past three months, our industry has redoubled its
efforts to meet with communities and first responders to inform them
about dangerous goods passing through their communities. We've been
working with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to resolve
issues where urban development is in proximity to railway operations.
And, we have been working with government to strengthen the rules and
regulations that govern rail safety: from the securing of trains to
sharing of information on dangerous goods."
Bourque said rail's strong safety record in Canada and the United States
allows the industry to compete globally and benefit domestic and
"Safety is good for the business and it's good for the people in the
Today, Canada's railway industry moves close to 70 percent of all
surface goods per year, with a value of $250 billion in Canada alone.
Since 2005, Canadian railway companies have invested more than $16
billion in infrastructure to make sure their networks operate safely
Despite the increase in traffic, accident rates of Canadian Class 1
railways have been on a steady decline from 1999 to 2012 (the most
recent year available), when there were fewer than two accidents per
million train miles moved.
Bourque's address coincided with the fourth annual National Rail Day, a
day for citizens to embrace rail's role in Canada's history and
recognize Sir John A. Macdonald's vision of the first coast-to-coast
railway system which was instrumental in creating the country.
While we've already exceeded Macdonald's wildest dreams for the country
and the industry, said Bourque, rail's present success has been largely
due to an industry safety culture that places a very high premium on
safety: the safety of its employees and the safety of the public at
Speaking for the industry, Bourque said rail's challenge moving forward
will be to build on Macdonald's legacy to achieve safety outcomes that
are beyond what we imagine possible.
"We too have obstacles, but we can count on the support and commitment
from railroaders, who believe in safety first."
About the Railway Association of Canada
The Railway Association of Canada represents some 50 goods, tourist, commuter and intercity Rail
businesses in Canada, their more than 32,000 employees and over 50
associate member suppliers. RAC acts to inform officials, develop
programs, policies and resources and respectfully communicate with the
public and media to strengthen the role and capacity of Rail to deliver
leading services that are economically viable, socially cohesive,
future focused and environmentally sustainable.
SOURCE: RAILWAY ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
For further information:
Railway Association of Canada
Railway Association of Canada