Lac-Mégantic rail service resumes
Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 4:28 PM -
Rail traffic resumed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec Wednesday afternoon more than five months after an unattended train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded, killing 47 people and causing an environmental disaster.
Approximately 100,000 litres of oil were spilled into the Chaudière River and Lac-Mégantic during the deadly July accident, prompting officials to call for stricter safety guidelines.
Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche announced on Monday that rail traffic was to resume on the heels of an agreement reached between the town, Transport Canada and representatives of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway.
Under the new agreement, no hazardous materials can be carried by any trains that pass through the town and companies will be required to produce a list of the materials they're carrying a minimum of four hours before passing through Lac-Mégantic.
Unmanned trains have also been banned. An engineer and an conductor is now required to be on board at all times.
Mayor Roy-Laroche said the "time had come" for rail service to continue.
"For businesses in the region and workers, it's news that has been awaited for several months," she told the CBC, adding she understands it will be difficult for some residents to see trains in Lac-Mégantic once again.
The Lac-Mégantic explosion created numerous fires ravaged the community's downtown, forcing the evacuation of 1,800 people. The flames were so intense that NASA's Earth Observatory was able to detect them from space.
With files from the CBC and The Canadian Press