Jul 06, 2023

By Angus Gillespie

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The people of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, are marking 10 years since a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in the city’s downtown, killing 47 people and leaving 26 children orphaned.

Leaders from all levels of government are among those who attended a memorial service to commemorate the tragedy, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says even after a decade, its important for the community to know that they won’t ever be forgotten.

The federal government had promised a rail bypass around the town, with a commitment to having it completed by 2018.  It hasn’t yet been started. Both Trudeau and Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra say negotiations continue with landlords and other stakeholders in nearby towns, and that progress continues to be made.

Rail safety activists and the town’s mayor say the trains transporting hazardous materials through Lac-Megantic have only gotten longer, leading them to fear another disaster.

On July 6, 2013, a runaway train carrying 72 tank cars loaded with Bakken shale oil derailed and exploded in the small town in the southeastern part of the province.

A record 6 million litres of oil was spilled, incinerating the town centre.

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