CN is reaching out to municipalities along its North American rail network to review its safety practices, share relevant information on dangerous goods traffic and discuss emergency response planning.
Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive, said: “A full 99.998 per cent of CN and rail industry movements of dangerous goods - many of which are essential to the North American economy and communities across the continent—arrive at their destination without a release caused by an accident.
“That being said, CN understands that municipalities feel they need more transparency and information sharing from railways about the dangerous commodities moving through their communities. And that’s why we launched a comprehensive outreach program last fall with communities along our network in Canada, and are now launching a similar program this year in the United States.
“Under our engagement program, CN is approaching municipal officials and their emergency responders to ensure that they have contact information for appropriate CN officials as well as targeted information that will assist them in their emergency response planning. In many cases, this outreach includes face-to-face meetings, during which we discuss CN’s comprehensive safety programs and solid safety performance, the nature, volume and economic importance of dangerous commodities we transport through their communities, and review emergency response planning. We also arrange to conduct training sessions for emergency responders when requested.
“To date, we have reached out to the vast majority of communities on our network in Canada. In addition, we’ve held close to 100 meetings with communities in Canada, predominantly the larger ones, and will be reaching out to many more municipalities this year in both Canada and the U.S.”
CN’s outreach program will involve almost 1,100 communities in Canada and approximately 870 communities in the U.S.
The CN engagement program supplements the Canadian government’s November 2013 protective direction, which requires major railways to provide municipalities with yearly aggregate information, presented by quarter, on the nature and volume of dangerous goods the company transports through the communities.
The outreach builds on CN’s involvement in the Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response (TRANSCAER®), through which the company has been working for many years to help communities in Canada and the United States understand the movement of hazardous materials and what is required in the event of transportation incidents. TRANSCAER members consist of volunteer representatives from the chemical manufacturing, transportation, distributor, and emergency response industries, as well as government.
Mongeau added: “CN has an unwavering commitment to safety and always strives to deliver responsibly. In 2013, CN reduced its accident rate per million train miles by nine per cent, the latest sign of long-term gains in safety. In the past 10 years, CN’s main-track accidents have declined by approximately 50 per cent despite increased freight volumes.”