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City railway says freight trains safe

City residents shouldn’t worry much about transportation of hazardous goods by the city-owned Guelph Junction Railway, city council was told.

The kinds of tanker cars for which the federal government is setting new regulations aren’t the types of railcars seen in Guelph, said GJR chair David Jennison.

“We are very careful about the business we take,” Jennison said as GJR presented its annual report to council Monday.

For example, he said, GJR was approached by a company wanting it to transport reclaimed jet fuel. “We said that is not something we want to be moving through the city.”

The federal government is bringing in new rules in the wake of the train crash and explosion that killed 47 people last July in a tiny Quebec town. It happened when a train carrying flammable crude oil destroyed a large swath of Lac-Mégantic’s downtown when the train’s braking system failed while the train was left unattended.

Tom Sagaskie, the outgoing general manager of Guelph Junction Railway, said GJR takes steps to minimize any dangers when it’s carrying freight through the city. This includes having trains go much slower than the allowable speed, he said.

Sagaskie, who retires at the end of this week after 16 years in the job and a total of 41 years with the city, got a big round of applause at the meeting. “Thank you for 16 years of running the railway,” said Mayor Karen Farbridge.

One Response to “City railway says freight trains safe”

  1. MikeCDN says:

    I fully agree with the current chair about this. While there’s always a danger with trains, far more nastier products are shipped by truck in this town. As current railroader, I can say that the GJR and GEXR are safer neighbours on the speed restrictions alone in Guelph.

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