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Railway's US tracks to be inspected after Canada crash

Railway's US tracks to be inspected after Canada crash

Authorities are inspecting Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway’s 275 miles (443 km) of tracks in the US state of Maine, following a deadly derailment in nearby Canada, they said Tuesday.

The US Federal Railroad Administration can order the company to make repairs or shut down its operations if deficiencies are found, a spokesman said.

“In the last two weeks, as part of our routine safety practice, the FRA conducted inspections over four and half days using our Automated Track Inspection vehicle on selected routes in Maine used to transport crude oil,” said FRA spokesman Kevin Thompson.

“This week, we will continue our inspection regime in Maine and other parts of New England; those inspections will be ongoing until late summer,” he said.

“Any abnormalities or federal safety violations must be immediately addressed by the operating railroad at their own expense,” he added.

Quebec mayors meanwhile made a public plea for Canadian transportation authorities to inspect tracks across their province in hopes of avoiding another disaster there.

The inspections come nearly two weeks after a runaway oil tanker train derailed and exploded, flattening a part of the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic and killing up to 50 people.

The railway’s chairman said this week that the disaster appears to have been caused by an engineer’s failure to properly set hand brakes on the train.

The train was carrying crude oil from the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota in 72 tanker cars through the resort town of 6,000 near the Canada-US border.

It had been scheduled to cross Maine to an Irving Oil refinery in New Brunswick.

Quebec police said one more body was found in the rubble on Tuesday, bringing the official death toll to 38. Another 12 are missing and presumed dead.

The coroner said only 12 victims have been identified so far.

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