Monday, March 13, 2006

Ongoing string of derailments and damage by CN Rail

Click to see enlarged version of this pictureWhen the Campbell government, in breaking one of their main election promises, sold BC Rail, most of us in the BC Interior were sad and angry . . . We didn't know how bad it was going to get: on top of the loss of our local rail company, we now seem to have a bunch of incompetents running the line. Probably we all underestimated the work and know-how involved in taking trains along that challenging line - but CN! As Andru McCracken says in an article in The Tyee.
you need people to operate these trains. You need human beings, capable of all manner of thought and observation to deal with problems that arise on a rail line.
Whatever the reason (most likely cost-cutting to increase profits), we've had a string of accidents - spills (of varying toxicity), damaged bridges - that shows no sign of ending. This despite the fact that train length has been curtailed by the BC government (at a time when rail capacity is sorely needed to take some of the strain off our highways, burdened by beetle-kill logging trucks).

Click to see enlarged version of this pictureFor a more in-depth consideration of the dangerous rail line we now have, read McCracken's article. Meanwhile, for our own protection let's keep our eyes open and the spotlight and pressure on CN, which seems to be attempting to hide and minimize the damage and danger they are responsible for. In McCracken's words:

'Thank God it was grain,' I whisper to myself when I see their contents strewn meters from open water. Later, during my interview with Jim Feeny, one of CN's communications people, he briefly asked how I managed to get to the site. It was a telling question. On my own watch, CN's remoteness and their ownership of the rail corridor has protected them many times against the prying eyes of the media.