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DOT 111 cars in Toronto like ‘Pepsi cans on wheels’

The Toronto Star reports, “More and more oil, some of it highly flammable crude from North Dakota’s Bakken region, is trundling on rail lines through the heart of Toronto in aged tank cars widely recognized as substandard. …(The oil is moved on) the Canadian Pacific rail line that runs through Toronto from the Junction neighbourhood along Dupont St. before curving northward just west of the Don Valley.” The oil-carrying trains also move through the Davenport Rd. and Avenue Rd. area.

Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow says, “Crude oil has been transported over the past couple years right through the heart of one of the most densely populated areas in the entire country, without any consultation, any public notices.”

The article notes, “Matlow said he began hearing more concerns about the safety of crude oil shipments in the wake of the devastating derailment and crude oil explosion in Lac-Megantic, Que., in July 2013 that left 47 people dead. That train’s ill-fated journey took it through Toronto and Montreal en route to tragedy in Quebec.”

Many of the railway cars now moving through Toronto are DOT-111 cars, which make up about 80 per cent of the Canadian railway fleet.

“Fred Millar, a U.S.-based consultant on rail transport, said politicians and the public need to ‘force’ industry and regulators to replace DOT-111s and route dangerous goods away from major urban centres. ‘We’re talking here about a giant, transcontinental flow of crude oil, a brand new, born-yesterday industry’, said Millar. ‘We don’t have the infrastructure for this. It’s clear we don’t have it, they’re blowing up and falling off rail lines all over the country … and the rail cars are Pepsi cans on wheels.'”

Unifor president Jerry Dias recently wrote, “Unifor encourages Hunter Harrison (the chief executive of Canadian Pacific Railway) to make a formal proposal to Lisa Raitt, the federal minister of transport, for an immediate moratorium on the use of DOT-111A cars. …Better still, Harrison should be telling the oil companies that his rail line will no longer put the safety of its workers and the communities through which it operates in danger, by hauling the DOT-111A and will from this point forward refuse to accept the cars.”

The Council of Canadians supports the call for an immediate moratorium on the use of DOT-111A cars.

Further reading
Oil cars on fire after train collision in North Dakota
Moving oil by rail to expand despite public concerns
Harper told no regulatory approval needed for moving tar sands oil by rail