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Minister won’t hesitate to shut down railway

Nova Scotia’s transportation minister said Thursday he won’t hesitateto shut down a railway that runs through the province’s northeast ifsafety concerns make it necessary.

Nova Scotia’s transportation minister said Thursday he won’t hesitate to shut down a railway that runs through the province’s northeast if safety concerns make it necessary.

Bill Estabrooks said he is not near that stage yet, but he said he wanted to see ongoing improvements to the mainland spur of the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway carried out as soon as possible.

“If I’ve got the information and the concerns are clearly outlined for me ... I’m not going to be reluctant to say we’ll shut it down,” Estabrooks said after the weekly cabinet meeting.

He said he’s concerned by findings in a July inspection by Transport Canada following two train derailments in Pictou County.

It found more than 100 defects on the line, including deteriorating crossing surfaces, weak support ties at rail joints and tree branches obscuring railway crossings. Estabrooks said the latest update he received Wednesday showed there are still issues to address, including the improvement of sight lines along the track through the trimming of bushes and the removal of branches.

Officials with the railway’s parent company, U.S.-based RailAmerica Inc., have repeatedly said they conduct regular inspections of the line to ensure its safety.

 
 
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