Lac-Mégantic train derailment

Canadian prosecutors have charged Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MM&A) and three employees with criminal negligence causing death, in connection with the Lac-Mégantic train derailment case in July 2013.

The derailment involved 72 tankers carrying crude oil, which killed 47 people. It occurred after the train rolled downhill while parked on an uphill main line near Lac-Mégantic.

Of the three employees being charged, Thomas Harding was the driver of the train, while Richard Labrie was a MM&A controller and Jean Demaitre was the director of operations.

According to Quebec provincial prosecutor’s office, 47 counts of criminal negligence have been filed on all the employees, as well as the company.

The operations at the company were terminated after Canada cancelled its operating licence in August 2013.

The sale of MM&A is expected to be completed shortly in a deal worth $15.85m.

In April, Canada Transport Minister Lisa Raitt decided to phase out the 5,000 least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars in the country over the next three years.

The Canadian Government has also invested approximately $60m and $95m for recovery in Lac-Mégantic and decontamination efforts respectively.

It has also introduced immediate measures to strengthen the country’s regulation and oversight of rail safety, as well as the transportation of dangerous goods.

Image: Police helicopter view of Lac-Mégantic, the day of the derailment. Photo: courtesy of Sûreté du Québec.