Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Lac-Mégantic freight service set to resume next week

Dozens of tanker cars similar to the model used for the train that crashed in Lac-Megantic, Que., are parked on Monday, July 16, on the train's line near Farnham, Que. Photo by Les Perreaux

Les Perreaux/The Globe and Mail

The first trains are expected to start moving through Lac-Mégantic by the middle of next week but will stay away from the community's devastated downtown, a trustee for the company that owns the tracks says.

Robert Keach, trustee for Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, said service will initially be limited to the Quebec town's industrial park, which can be reached using tracks that run just east of the downtown. MM&A is still in talks with the town over plans to relaunch rail service but Mr. Keach said he believes a deal will be reached in time for trains to start running next week.

"If all goes well, there will be limited service to [particle board manufacturer] Tafisa and to another customer in the industrial park, Logi-Bel, that will start next week," Mr. Keach said.

Story continues below advertisement

Asked when the town of Lac-Mégantic expects service to begin, municipal spokesman Louis Longchamps said it is still too early to comment on a date. "If one side doesn't sign, it won't happen," he warned.

MM&A filed for creditor protection this year after a train hauling crude oil jumped the tracks in Lac-Mégantic, killing 47 people and levelling several city blocks. Mr. Keach said he expects the company's assets to be sold before the end of January, 2014.

Despite the devastation, some in the small lakeside town are eager for rail service to return because companies in the industrial park – which employs many residents – rely on trains to distribute their merchandise. MM&A has agreed not to carry oil on the Lac-Mégantic tracks, but the town will have no veto power over what is hauled through it once the company has been sold.

Mr. Keach said the company is aiming to restart service on Dec. 18. "That's the plan for as of right now. Could it change? Certainly it could. I'm not expecting it, but, you know, we will see."

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Kim Mackrael has been a reporter for The Globe and Mail since 2011. She joined the Ottawa bureau Sept. 2012. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at