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Lac-Megantic train company experiences another derailment

July 18, 2013, Farnham, Que. – The company involved in the Lac-Megantic disaster experienced another derailment Thursday – although this one was minor.

July 18, 2013
By The Canadian Press

July 18, 2013, Farnham, Que. – The company involved in the Lac-Megantic disaster experienced another derailment Thursday – although this one was minor.

A Montreal, Maine & Atlantic cargo train carrying soy derailed in Farnham, Que., between Montreal and Lac-Megantic.

Authorities said one wheel went off the rail, and the incident did not occur on the main track. The federal Transportation Safety Board said it was not called to the scene to inspect the incident.

"(There were) no injuries, no damage, no crossing blocked," said TSB spokesman John Cottreau.

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The federal agency says there were about three rail incidents per day in Canada last year, which is down from the 2007-2011 period.

In 2012, it says there were 1,011 rail accidents – close to the total of 1,022 from the previous year but down 10 per cent from the average of 1,128 per year between 2007 and 2011.

Freight trains counted for 69 per cent of trains involved in rail accidents in 2012 – with the large majority being non-main track accidents.

Main-track derailments accounted for seven per cent of all 2012 accidents.

Only one of the 2012 accidents resulted in a fatality, the TSB stats say.

The MMA company has drawn a considerable amount of public anger following the Lac-Megantic disaster, in which 50 people are believed to have been killed. Four more bodies were recovered Thursday, bringing the total of bodies found to 42.

A police officer involved in the forensic operation broke down in tears while speaking with media Thursday about the effort.

One media report examined the question of whether MMA executives might have to pay out of their own pocket to compensate Lac-Megantic residents, on top of any insurance claims and federal-provincial programs.

Quebec legislation passed in 2011, the Quebec Law on Environmental Quality, lays out conditions for such a financial punishment.

Its section 115.50 says top executives of a company unable to offer compensation after an environmental disaster must do so themselves, unless they can prove they acted with "prudence and diligence" to avoid the incident.