Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 8:21 pm

Canadian Railway News Roundup

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CN’s conductors and yard workers began returning to work earlier this week; CBC News and The Globe and Mail have some of the details of the tentative agreement and some background on the intra-union tensions (the Canadian branch may switch affiliations to the Teamsters). Final vote results due March 26.

Let it never be said that CN has a monopoly on rail accidents in this country, or even in British Columbia: yesterday, a hydrochloric acid spill on the CPR main line in the Kicking Horse Canyon east of Golden, B.C. had the town on alert. Thanks in part to the cold, though, the eight-car spill was contained.

Ah, but CN never disappoints. A major derailment this morning in Pickering, Ontario (east of Toronto) on the CN mainline is disrupting both freight and passenger service (see VIA Rail’s announcement). And there’s a major snowstorm in the offing — when rail service is sometimes the only thing that still runs.

Back to B.C., where the provincial government’s 2004 sale of BC Rail to CN has always been controversial, and not just because of how CN has subsequently run trains over that line. It’s at the centre of a fraud and breach of trust case involving several politicians and aides. The Globe and Mail reports that a former finance minister has denied offering OmniTrax the rail line to the Roberts Bank coal port as a “consolation prize” for staying in the bidding for BC Rail after the CPR bailed out of the competition.

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