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Railroad firms, workers charged in Lac-Mégantic oil train disaster


The Canadian government on Monday charged two railroad companies and six people in the July 2013 Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, train derailment in which an unattended train transporting crude oil began rolling, jumped the tracks and burst into flames, killing 47 people and causing extensive destruction.

Transport Canada said its investigation found that an insufficient number of hand brakes were applied and that the hand brakes were not tested properly. The Canadian governmental agency said crude oil also was released into a river.

Those accused of violating Canada’s Railway Safety Act and the Fisheries Act are: the Montreal Maine & Atlantic Canada Co., Montreal Maine & Atlantic Canada Railway Ltd., Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Inc. President and CEO Robert C. Grindrod and five other people.

Each defendant is accused of two counts of violating the railway safety law. If convicted, companies could be fined up to $1 million and individuals could be fined up to $50,000 for each count. Jail terms of up to six months also are possible.

A Nov. 12 court appearance has been set for those accused in the case, said a spokeswoman for Transport Canada.