Oil transport in focus post Canada train disaster
Hauling 50,000 barrels of crude, the train rolled away and exploded
A whopping 28,000 per cent increase in the amount of oil shipped by rail over the past five years is coming under the microscope following the deadly rail blast in Quebec, reported the Canadian Press.
Canada's railways have made a determined push to cash in on the country's crude-oil bonanza, painting themselves as a cost-effective alternative to politically unpopular pipelines like the proposed Keystone XL. The Canadian Railway Association recently estimated that as many as 140,000 carloads of crude oil are expected to rattle over the nation's tracks this year, up from only 500 carloads in 2009.
On the 7th of July, a runaway, driverless train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in eastern Quebec, destroying buildings in a town center. Five bodies of victims have been recovered in Quebec from the catastrophic derailment of an oil-laden cargo train, but 40 people are missing and the toll is expected to rise, Canadian officials have said.
The disaster when the train, with more than 70 cars, went off the tracks in the town of Lac-Megantic, triggering a series of blasts and sending up fireballs.
This blast has triggered a global debate on the safety of crude oil trains. This debate takes prominence as Saturday's train wreck may also play into the rancorous debate over the $ 5.3 billion Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the US Midwest, which is hinging on President Barack Obama's decision later this year, said the Sydney Morning Herald.
Obama said last month that approval for the line would ultimately depend on its impact on carbon-dioxide emissions
With US' Shale boom, much of the oil produced would have been transported through trains internally, now this disaster will deepen the pipeline verus train debate, not just in America, but across the world as well.