Editorial: Off the rails and on the message track

In the wake of Quebec's deadly Lac Megantic train derailment, one would think rail companies across Canada would be a little more sensitive.

In the wake of Quebec’s deadly Lac Megantic train derailment in July, one would think rail companies across Canada would be a little more sensitive to public concerns about even minor derailments, like the one that occured in Invermere downslope from the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena last week.

After this week’s effort to penetrate Canadian Pacific’s communications firewall and find out what actually caused the 16 cars to derail (see page A10), we’re little further ahead: the incident is still under investigation, which could take a full year, and that’s all we need to know.

Had this derailment taken a turn for the worse, and sent a few cars from a lengthy, loaded coal train careening down the bank and onto someone walking their dog, I think we’d be getting some more comprehensive answers from CP. We did get those answers after larger derailments near Edgewater in 2004 and near Brisco in 2006.

I was in a boat on Lake Windermere about a week before it froze, and observed at least half a dozen rail workers inspecting or repairing the tracks below the Eddie Mountain arena, where the train recently became derailed. I doubt I’m the only person who noticed this, and CP could certainly help explain to Invermere residents how this did or didn’t factor into the derailment.

That would be a good start, at least.