Lac-Megantic rail car model to be withdrawn ahead of schedule
Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, July 25, 2016 6:33AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 25, 2016 3:52PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Older and less robust railway tanker cars will not be able to transport crude oil in Canada as of Nov. 1, six months earlier than planned, Transport Minister Marc Garneau confirmed Monday.
The DOT-111 cars are the same kind that were involved in the Lac-Megantic tragedy in which 47 people died three years ago.
The new directives are for crude oil only, Garneau said, and all other flammable liquid will continue to be transported by rail in the country by DOT-111s until 2025.
Garneau said while he was able to accelerate the phase-out of DOT-111s for crude, the government needs to be "realistic" about other materials.
"The reality is that in this country we transport a huge amount by rail -- hundreds of billions of dollars worth a year -- and you can't do everything in one shot," he told a news conference.
"Here we have the opportunity to do something very concrete on the crude oil side -- which is extremely important -- and I am very proud of it."
DOT-111s without a thermal layer of protection will be banned from transporting crude on Nov. 1, six months earlier than planned. For tankers with the thermal layer, the ban kicks in on the same date, 16 months earlier than scheduled.
By April 30, 2025, DOT-111s will not be able to transport any flammable liquids by rail in Canada.
Garneau said tankers carrying crude originating from the United States that are not up to code will not be able to cross the border and violators will face penalties.
He wasn't able to give details on the amount of the fines.
Garneau said there are about 30,000 DOT-111s without a thermal layer transporting crude oil on railways in North America. He didn't have a precise number for the cars with the protective layer.
On July 6, 2013, a runaway freight train pulling 72 crude-oil laden DOT-111s derailed and exploded, killing 47 people and flattening downtown Lac-Megantic.
Residents there want the federal government help pay for a bypass track that would remove all trains from running through the core of the town.