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Monday, June 16, 2008

Feds issue emergency order to rail carrier to remove faulty wheels

THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA - The federal government has ordered CN Rail to find and remove potentially faulty wheels from its trains.

CN says it will comply with the order.

The emergency safety directive from Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon comes after the Transportation Safety Board warned thousands of wheel sets could cause derailments.

The board called for the removal of 12,000 wheel sets still in use on some Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP), Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR) and U.S. freight cars.

"The safety and security of Canadians is our number one priority, and our government is acting to make our railways as safe as possible," Cannon said in a written statement.

"By issuing this emergency directive, I want to ensure every possible measure is taken to prevent potential derailments related to faulty wheels."

The federal order gives Canadian National until Oct. 15 to switch the potentially dangerous wheel sets.

The Transport Department says the deadline gives CN the time needed to track all the wheels throughout Canada.

And CN spokesman Bryan Tucker says the company will meet the deadline.

"CN has been aware of and has been addressing the wheel set issue since 2001," he said.

"We've worked continually to remove them from service and we'll comply fully with all the requirements of the Transport Canada directive."

The suspect wheel sets were assembled at CN's Transcona wheel shop between April 1, 1998, and Feb. 28, 2001.

In issuing the order, Cannon said he wants to prevent any future derailments related to faulty wheels.

In a June 5 report, the safety board blamed loose wheels for a 2006 derailment involving a CP Rail freight train near Buckskin, Ont.

© The Canadian Press, 2008

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