Trains passing through Yahk are dangerous

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To the Editor:

One hundred-eighty flammable tanker railcars recently passed through Yahk, 100 metres away from the Yahk Elementary School, community hall, two gas stations , a three-tank commercial propane storage station, post office, homes and the Moyie River. Highway 3/95 is an economically busy international highway with three bridges that bottleneck the Yahk townsite. A weigh scale, additional gas station and highway junction are just south of the Curzon bridge. Almost every night, I hear at least two long trains rumble through Yahk. There have already been two significant train derailments in Yahk, one involving a propane rail tanker. I feel terrorized by the potential industrial accident poised to happen.

For example, 120 Gainford, Alta., residents were evacuated for four days in October 2013 at 1 a.m. when 13 Canadian National Railway Co. (CN) cars, four carrying crude oil and nine carrying 130,000 litres of liquid petroleum gas, derailed on a siding due to internal cracks in the rail track, undetected by four rail ultrasound examinations. Two tankers caught fire and exploded in a fireball that spread across Highway 16.

An accident like this in Yahk would have much worse consequences. Our volunteer emergency response team is highly organized and co-ordinated, but it appears that the Harper Conservative government is enabling bottom-line corporate profit by endangering the taxpaying public by neglecting rail safety and depending on volunteers for accident response. CN says its revenues reached a record $3.12 billion in 2014. With that profit margin, there shouldn’t be any rail track fatigue accidents. There should be plenty for money to reinstall and pay safety inspectors to prevent fatigued people-caused rail accidents like the incineration of 47 people in the Lac-Mégantic derailment.

The Harper Conservative government is determined to pass Bill C-51, which would label me as a terrorist for speaking up about my safety concerns for Yahk, and by my criticizing the high-profit industrial economy for its lack of respect and concern for we citizens of Canada. I am a responsible adult, not a terrorist, and I am asking, “What is the supposedly family-friendly Harper Conservative Government doing to ensure the safety of the residents of Yahk, or of any community living along a hazardous rail transport route?”

Susan Eyre

Yahk