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Railway critic concerned about increase in traffic from Alberta after fatal Field derailment

Last Updated Feb 7, 2019 at 8:48 am MDT

The site of a train derailment near Field B.C that claimed the lives of three workers. February 4, 2018 (CityNews)

'People say 'never again', then there's a forgetting period and then it happens again': rail critic

The investigation into what happened near Field is ongoing

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Trains are now moving through Field, BC just days after the derailment that killed three people.

Crews will still be working to clean up the site where dozens of cars plunged into the Kicking Horse River.

A critic of the rail system in Canada is concerned about the future of our railways especially with a major increase expected in the coming months and years from Alberta to get oil products to market.

Bruce Campbell is the author of a book detailing the Lac Megantic disaster.

He sees some eerie similarities between what happened in Field and what happened in Quebec. He cited the similarities of having a train at the top of a hill starting to move after the brakes failed.

In July 2013, an unattended train started to roll down the tracks into the city where it derailed and exploded. More than 40 people were killed in one of the deadliest train-related crashes in Canadian history.

“There needs to be a real focus on making sure, since this is dangerous goods that are going to be transported by rail, that measures be taken to make sure risks are diminished as much as possible, and they haven’t been.”

He said there have been changes made in recent years to help, but much more needs to be done. He is especially concerned with funding to Transport Canada, the regulator of those lines.

“The government when it first came into power increased budgets for rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods in the first couple of years.”

He warns the further we get from the Lac Megantic disaster, the more likely people and governments are to forget about the risks involved.

“We’ve really seen over a long period of time a shrinking of those budgets and decreasing capacity of the regulator to do its job,” he said. “There’s a big flurry of activity then the Transportation Safety Board does its report and it may take a year or more before the report is out. Then people’s memories fade. They assume that it is all taken care of. People say ‘never again’, then there’s a forgetting period and then it happens again.”

The investigation into the derailment in Field is still ongoing.