The Movement of Dangerous Goods

Despite heavy media coverage of derailments, Canada's rail system has a particularly good record for transporting the chemicals and petroleum products. These goods – used for everything from purifying the water we drink to heating our homes and fuelling our vehicles – are safely transported by North American railways, and roughly 99.998 per cent of carloads arrive at their destination without a release caused by an accident.

Year-over-year, originated dangerous goods carloads edged up by 0.8 per cent to a record 428,660 carloads in 2012. The number of accidents involving dangerous goods (125) edged down slightly from 2011 and dropped by 22.2 per cent from the 2007-2011 average of 161. More than 90 per cent of these accidents occur off the main track. The number of accidents involving dangerous goods (125) edged down slightly from 2011, but dropped by 22.2 per cent from the 2007-2011 average of 161 and the number of accidents involving dangerous goods and resulting in a release to the environment dropped from three to two, year-over-year.

One of the primary functions of the RAC is to promote and continually improve the safe handling of dangerous goods. This means ensuring rail cars carrying dangerous goods meet strict standards, the consignments are properly packaged, labeled, placarded and documented, and that carriers handle the rail cars safely.

Trains carrying dangerous goods are rigorously inspected, not only at their departure point, but whenever they approach a densely populated area. Detailed documentation is carried on every train and recorded in central computer systems, so that the right measures for the products concerned can be taken in case of an emergency.

When dangerous goods accidents and incidents occur the RAC's own special response teams from railway companies, the chemical industry and local public security agencies work quickly to mitigate any damage.

Media Contact:
Alex Paterson
Communications Specialist
(613) 564-8111

Sarah Mayes
Director, Public Affairs
(613) 564-8097

Read more about RAC's Dangerous Goods Team offerings by downloading their informative brochure. Click here.

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