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Statement from TSB Chair on the 10-year anniversary of the tragic rail occurrence in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec

Gatineau, Quebec, 6 July 2023 — Ten years ago today, a train that was parked unattended for the night at Nantes, Quebec, started to roll uncontrolled, reaching a speed of 65 mph. When the train approached the centre of the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, 63 tank cars derailed, spilling about 6 million litres of petroleum crude oil. Forty-seven people were fatally injured, and the centre of the town was destroyed.

On this difficult day, we extend our continued condolences to all those impacted by this tragic occurrence.

Progress so far

As part of our investigation (R13D0054), the TSB issued five recommendations to Transport Canada (TC), three of which — related to improved tank car standards, route planning and analysis, and emergency response assistance plans — have been fully addressed by TC and industry and are now closed. Two recommendations, related to the prevention of uncontrolled movements and enhanced regulatory surveillance, remain open.

More still needs to be done

Despite significant safety action taken by TC and the railway industry to reduce the number of unplanned and uncontrolled movements of rail equipment, such events continue to occur, posing a significant risk to people, property, and the environment.

Today, as we think of the people of Lac-Mégantic, I want to emphasize that the TSB remains firmly committed to advocating for changes that will advance rail transportation safety so that no other Canadian community will ever have to face such a catastrophic event.

Kathy Fox
Chair, Transportation Safety Board of Canada

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-360-4376