Watch this CN locomotive utterly demolish snowbanks blocking the tracks near Salisbury, New Brunswick.
The first minute is awesome and then reality sets in. The train is hauling oil tank cars that look an awful lot like the tanks that brought so much carnage to the people of Lac Megantic on a July night in 2012.
According to the report in Mother Jones this train, like the Lac Megantic train, is also heading for St. John, site of the Irving Oil Refinery. Which begs the question, is it really a good idea to be hauling this inarguably volatile cargo along tracks buried in snow and ice?
A 10-year US Department of Transportation analysis of weather-related train accidents in America, from 1995 to 2005, found that the accidents related to snow and ice, when they did occur, often resulted in dangerous derailments. "During the winter months of December through March, the highest accident numbers arose from preexisting snow and ice conditions such as buildups that cause malfunctioning switches and derailments," the report found.
After the Lac-Mégantic disaster, both the United States and Canada agreed to get rid of the older and more dangerous versions of the tanker involved in that tragedy, the "DOT-111." (We covered the cons of this tanker extensively last May.) In mid-January, Canada announced it would take the tankers off the network years sooner than the United States will, putting the two countries at odds over increased safety measures on the deeply integrated system.