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Canadian Government Issues Hand Brake Requirements for Trains

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The federal government in Canada is issuing detailed new rules that specify how many hand brakes have to be set on unattended trains. This is yet another response to the horrible train derailment and explosion in Lac-Megantic last year.

The government in Ottowa also will do a review of railroad employee training plans, and they will take more steps to better test crude oil that is being loaded onto trains for shipment.

The changes are after the runaway oil train derailment in 2013 that had 72 tank cars of crude oil. Since the accident, it has been found that that type of oil – from the Bakken area of North Dakota – is more volatile than other types.

The final report on the tragedy found that many safety issues led to the crash, including not applying enough hand brakes. There also was a weak safety culture at the railroad company and a lack of federal oversight.

The report also found that the train that derailed last year was left unattended. It was on a downward slope and the brakes were not set right.

Our legal firm in Virginia has seen the results of railroad negligence all too many times. In one case, our client was working on a train when it derailed. Parts of his body hit metallic train parts. He continued on the job, but he continued to have pain and tingling in his arms. We eventually proved that his pain was caused by the railroad accident. We settled that train derailment injury case for $190,000.

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