CN Rail employee killed in Saskatchewan accident


By Solarina Ho

TORONTO, Nov 19 (Reuters) - A Canadian National Railway employee was killed in a train accident near the smallnortheastern town of Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada's largestrailroad confirmed on Tuesday.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada, which has aninvestigator traveling to the accident site, said the CN crewmember was killed during switching. Switching typically involvesmoving a section of a rail into a different position so that atrain can move onto a different track.

The accident occurred some 300 kilometers (186 miles) northof the provincial capital of Regina. It follows a recent stringof CN derailments and spills this year, none of which involvedfatalities.

"At approximately 6:30 p.m. (local time), last evening onNov. 18, a CN employee was fatally injured in the performance ofhis duties," said CN spokesman Warren Chandler, who could notprovide any further details, saying the accident was underinvestigation.

Rail safety has come under heavy scrutiny in Canadafollowing the disastrous accident this summer when a runawaytrain carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in the heart ofLac Megantic, Quebec, killing 47 people.

Chief Executive Officer Claude Mongeau reiterated CN'ssafety record on Tuesday, which he said has improved some 40percent in the last 10 years and now stands at 1.85 accidentsfor every million train miles.

"We're as safe as CP (Canadian Pacific Railway ), anda bit safer than the four American railroads, which areextremely safe in their own record," Mongeau said in answer toan analyst's question on rail safety at the ScotiabankTransportation and Aerospace Conference in Toronto.

"But it's not enough. Every accident is one too many."

A month ago, a CN train carrying crude oil and liquefiedpetroleum gas derailed and caught fire just outside the tinysettlement of Gainford, Alberta. There were no injuries, thoughresidents evacuated as a precaution.

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