In the wake of the Lac-Mégantic disaster, Transport Canada has issued an emergency directive under Section 33 of the Railway Safety Act in order to address some of the issues that have been preliminary identified as potential causes of the disaster. 

These measures are effective immediately for all federally regulated railways and apply outside of yards and terminals. 

Railway operators are required to ensure that (where dangerous goods are being transported):

  • Trains transporting dangerous goods are operated by at least two qualified persons
  • Locomotives coupled to tank cars transporting dangerous goods are not left unattended on a main track;

In addition, for all operations (whether transporting dangerous goods or not), the operator must ensure that:

  • Unattended controlling locomotives are protected from unauthorized entry into the cab
  • Reversers are removed from unattended locomotives
  • Each railway operator's special instructions on hand brakes be followed for any locomotive coupled with one or more cars which is left unattended for more than one hour
  • In addition to the special instructions on hand brakes above, automatic brakes must be set in full service position and the independent brakes must be fully applied for any train left unattended for one hour or less