cbc.ca (© Copyright: (C) Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.cbc.ca/aboutcbc/discover/termsofuse.html#Rss)
Updated: Wed, 18 Dec 2013 10:02:45 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Lac-Mégantic rail traffic resumes 5 months after disaster



A train carrying pre-fabricated panels will run through the town of Lac-Mégantic today. It will the first train to go through town since the fatal derailment in July. CBC

A train carrying pre-fabricated panels will run through the town of Lac-Mégantic today. It will the first train to go through town since the fatal derailment in July. CBC

A train will be rolling through the town of Lac-Mégantic, Que., today for the first time since July, when an out-of-control train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded, killing 47 people.

A loaded train will run through the town around noon Wednesday, after more than five months without any rail traffic.

The cars will be carrying prefabricated panels from Tafisa, a company located in the nearby industrial park.

Lac-Mégantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche​ had announced on Monday that rail traffic would resume this week.

Last Friday, the town of Lac-Mégantic, Transport Canada and trustees with the railway Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MM&A) agreed that no hazardous materials would be carried by any trains passing through the town.

The agreement also requires the presence of an engineer and a conductor on board a train at all times. Companies are mandated to publish a list of the materials that will be transported on train cars at least four hours before they roll through town.

Mixed feelings for many locals

YannickGagné is the owner of Musi-Café, the bar where many locals had gathered for drinks on the night of the disaster.

Gagné said that while he has mixed feelings about the return of rail traffic, they don’t have much choice — the town’s economy relies on the railway.

Adding to the mix of emotions felt by many in the small community is the fact that the train is owned by Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway — the same company that owned the train at the centre of the disaster.

Lac-Mégantic resident Lucie Pinard lost her natural foods store in the explosion. She said she’s expecting a strong emotional reaction to the return of train traffic.

“I'm mostly worried for the people who have been through this tragedy, and the sound of the train is going to be just horror,” she said.

MM&A bankruptcy hearing begins

As Lac-Mégantic residents gradually return to normal life, a bankruptcy hearing starts Wednesday regarding Montreal, Maine and Atlantic.

The railway company filed for bankruptcy last summer.

The hearing will aim to establish bidding procedures for the company and set a deadline for people to file claims against the railroad.

There are more than a dozen interested buyers, and there has already been a $14.25-million bid from Railroad Acquisition Holdings LLC.

more video