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January 11, 2007 14:15 ET

CN spells out commitment to rail safety in meeting with Montmagny, Quebec, officials

MONTMAGNY, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 11, 2007) - Senior CN operations and engineering officers met today with the mayor of Montmagny and other area politicians to underscore CN's commitment to safe operations across its network.

Jim Vena, vice-president, operations, of CN's Eastern Region, said it's in CN's best interest, and in the best interests of its customers, employees and the communities through which it operates, to maintain safe, fluid operations.

Vena said CN will take specific measures to address municipal concerns following a CN derailment in this community on Jan. 7, 2007:

- Limit freight train speeds through the community to 64 kilometres per hour (40 miles per hour) pending the conclusion by CN of its internal accident investigation.

- Increase annual rail flaw detection runs over the line through the town to 10 times the Transport Canada regulatory requirement - CN already exceeds the Transport Canada requirement for rail flaw monitoring of the section of line through Montmagny by eight times.

- Conduct four track geometry inspections annually, twice the regulatory requirement.

- Institute twice-monthly walking inspections of the track one mile on each side of the CN rail bridge in Montmagny, as well as the bridge.

- Remove the switch on the CN main line where Sunday's derailment occurred.

According to its preliminary investigation, CN believes a broken bolthole on a switch component caused the accident. The rail will be subject to laboratory tests. In CN's experience, such rail breaks are uncommon. Further investigation will have to be carried out by CN and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) to establish the definitive cause. The TSB is the federal agency responsible for official findings on the cause of transportation accidents in Canada.

In CN's view, speed was not a factor in the derailment. At the time of the accident freight train 308 was travelling at 82 kilometres per hour (51 miles per hour). As per Transport Canada's Railway Track Safety Rules, the maximum speed permitted at Montmagny is up to 96 kilometres per hour (60 miles per hour) for freight operations.

CN - Canadian National Railway Company - spans Canada and mid-America, from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to the Gulf of Mexico, serving the ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the key cities of Toronto, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis., Green Bay, Wis., Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, St. Louis, and Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America.

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Contact Information

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    Julie Senecal
    Manager, Public and Government Affairs
    (514) 399-4048
    (514) 239-3331 (Cellular)