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Crew Fatigue Rampant, But Canadian Railways Fight Tougher Regulations

Canadian railways are fighting regulations on crew fatigue, the CBC reports, more than a year after a runaway crude oil train killed 47 people and incinerated downtown Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.

When CN Rail, Canadian Pacific, and the Railway Association of Canada met with unions and federal regulators two weeks ago, “the body language from industry was, ‘You’re not going to push us around,'” Rob Smith of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference told CBC. Earlier, Nicol and Seglins reported that 75% of freight train operators “reported falling asleep while working at least once in the month prior to the survey. 96% say they have gone to work tired, with 62% reporting it happens ‘frequently’ or ‘always.’” Canadian railways have known about the problem since at least 1986, when a crash in Hinton, Alberta killed 23.

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In the U.S., the American Petroleum Institute is asking for a seven- to 10-year delay in phasing in tank cars with extra-thick shells, according to Fuel Fix, claiming that “current proposals could stifle North America’s energy renaissance and curtail substantial volumes of U.S. and Canadian oil production.” (h/t to InsideClimate News for pointing us to the Fuel Fix story)