REVELSTOKE, BC, June 27 /CNW Telbec/ - William Brehl, President of the
Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Maintenance of Way Employees, and B.C. Member
of Parliament Libby Davies are to push for greater enforcement of national
rail safety laws while speaking at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 28th at the Workers'
Memorial in Revelstoke.
"The growing number of rail accidents in Canada is not a political issue,
but a people issue," says MP Libby Davies (NDP - Vancouver East). "Ottawa,
through the urging of the NDP and labour, is beginning to recognize the
gravity of the situation with a Parliamentary committee recently recommending
the tightening of rail safety regulations. Now it is up to all parties in
Ottawa to ensure they are fully implemented and strictly enforced."
"The railways are inextricably tied with the development of Revelstoke,"
says Mr. Brehl. "Sadly, they are also the source of major safety concerns for
this community that has seen death, destruction and environmental damage
caused by an increasing number of train accidents. We're here not only to pay
tribute to lost lives, but to work for solutions that will make this railway
system truly safe so that history does not continue to repeat itself."
Among the most recent accidents in the Revelstoke and Golden area that
have put Canadians at risk:
- March 23, 2008: more than a dozen coal cars derailed and overturned in
the Rogers Pass between Golden and Revelstoke;
- May 31, 2007: a train went off the track 50 kilometres east of
Revelstoke, taking out high voltage power lines;
- February 27, 2007: five CP Rail cars carrying toxic chemicals went off
the tracks near Golden, resulting in a hydrochloric acid leak and the
closure of a Golden school;
- May 30, 2006: a luxury tourist train carrying 563 passengers and crew
members derailed near Rogers Pass.
"And we cannot forget that four of the last five workplace fatalities at
CP Rail have occurred in BC, with three of them on the Revelstoke Division,"
added Mr. Brehl.
These accidents in the Revelstoke and Golden region mirror the trends
throughout Canada. Over the past decade, there have been a dozen major urban
evacuations, caused by train accidents and involving toxic commodities. Most
of them took place during the last five years.
Canadian railways are moving longer and heavier trains on a more frequent
basis, transporting dangerous goods and toxic chemicals through urban areas,
populated by millions of Canadians. A major derailment in a residential or
environmentally sensitive area could have catastrophic consequences.
Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Maintenance of Way Employees Division
(TCRC-MWED), a division of Teamsters Canada, represents more than 4,000
maintenance of way workers at Canadian Pacific Railway and almost two dozen
short line railroads. Its members are involved in inspecting, monitoring and
repairing the tracks, bridges and structures on the network. TCRC-MWED's
mission is to make sure that the railway is safe, in spite of any economic,
managerial or other obstacles.
For further information:
For further information: Lise Cyr, TCRC-MWED, 800-567-0571,
firstname.lastname@example.org; Natalia Smalyuk, abc2 communications inc., (416) 606-5844,