New Brunswick Southern Railway pleads not guilty to charges related to oil transport

As reported by the CBC, New Brunswick Southern Railway has pleaded not guilty to 24 charges related to the transportation of oil.  Defence lawyer Catherine Lahey entered the pleas on the Irving-owned company’s behalf during a brief appearance in Saint John provincial court on earlier this month.

The charges against the railway, a subsidiary of J.D. Irving Ltd., stem from a Transport Canada investigation triggered by the 2013 derailment that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Que., prosecutors have said.  Twelve of the charges under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act relate to failing to create proper shipping documents for the purpose of transporting petroleum crude oil.  The other 12 charges relate to having unqualified personnel handling dangerous goods — crude oil.

The offences are all alleged to have occurred between Nov. 3, 2012, and July 5, 2013, at or near Saint John.  Irving Oil would have imported about 14,000 cars of crude for its Saint John refinery during that period.

New Brunswick Southern Railway is part if NBM Railways, a subsidiary of J.D. Irving Ltd., which also includes Cavendish Farms, Kent Building Supplies and Irving Pulp & Paper.

A trial date will be set on June 4.  Judge David Walker said the Crown is expecting to take about three weeks to present its case.  There is no word on how long the defence will take.  Pleas were delayed last month because the defence was still in the process of receiving an estimated 9,000 disclosure documents from the Crown.

The rail cars full of crude that exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Que., in July 2013 were destined for Irving Oil’s refinery in Saint John. (CBC)

In October 2017, Irving Oil was ordered to pay $4 million after pleading guilty to 34 charges under the same act.  Those charges related to failing to properly classify the crude oil it transported by train and inadequately training its employees in the transportation of dangerous goods.

The crude oil in the derailed rail cars that exploded in Lac-Mégantic was destined for Irving’s refinery in Saint John.

New Brunswick Southern Railway, along with its sister railways — Maine Northern Railway and Eastern Maine Railway — operates 883 kilometres of railway in New Brunswick and Maine.


Chlorine Institute’s 2018 TRANSCAER® Rail Safety and Hazmat Emergency Response Training

Chlorine Institute’s 2018 TRANSCAER® Rail Safety and Hazmat Emergency Response Training Schedule is listed below. Please click on an event date to be directed to the event registration page. The same information and hands-on workshops stations are presented each day so you will only need to register for one day.

Locations 2018 Dates
Richmond, VA April 10 April 11
Pittsburgh, PA May 15 May 16 May 16
(Evening Session)
May 17
St. John’s, NL (Canada) May 23
Grand Falls Windsor, NL (Canada) May 25
Houston, TX June 19 June 20
New Johnsonville, TN July 17 July 18 July 19
Chicago, IL August 15 August 16
Minneapolis, MN September 11 September 12 September 12
(Evening Session)
September 13
Los Angeles County, CA October 22 October 23
Eugene, OR December 6 December 6
(Evening Session)
December 7


FEATURED HAZMAT: Toxic Gases (Chlorine & Hydrogen Chloride); Corrosive Liquids (Hydrochloric Acid & Caustic Soda) & Flammable Gases (Vinyl Chloride)

Event Level

Hazmat Technician/Specialist, First Responders, anyone interested in learning more about this topic.