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Feds quietly adopt new rail safety rules

Transport Canada quietly approved new safety rules drafted by the railway industry on Boxing Day just as an emergency directive issued in the wake of last summer's Lac-Megantic disaster was set to expire.

The federal department also reissued a new emergency directive on Jan. 1, again without public notification, covering those rail companies that are not part of the Railway Association of Canada.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt issued the emergency directive last July to address some of the most glaring safety deficiencies exposed by the derailment, explosions and fire that claimed 47 lives in Lac-Megantic, Que.

Those measures dictated that at least two crew members must work trains that carry dangerous goods.

In addition, the emergency directive said no locomotive attached to one or more loaded tank cars transporting dangerous materials could be left unattended on a main track.

Transport Canada declined to comment on the newly approved rules.

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