Lac-Mégantic to see return of trains

Six months after an unmanned train carrying crude oil went off the rails and exploded in Lac-Mégantic, trains will be rolling through the Quebec town starting on Wednesday, according to the mayor and a representative from Transport Canada.

It's the first time trains will be travelling through the town since July's derailment that killed 47 people.

The shipment on Wednesday will contain dry goods. No oil or combustible material will be transported.

The train will have six cars and will roll through the town in daylight hours. No specific time of the day was given.

Lac-Mégantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche said residents are concerned about the resumption of trains.

"We've invited people to contact various psycho-social services if they need it," she said.

The derailment of 72 tankers full of crude oil caused a series of explosions and affected about 31 hectares of soil in the town and the Chaudière River. The Quebec government estimated the cleanup would cost $190 million.

The federal government will pay as much as 50 per cent of the decontamination cost to a maximum of $95 million, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in November.

Last week, Transport Canada obtained a search warrant for the offices of Irving Oil as part of its investigation into the disaster. The derailed train was destined for the Irving Oil Ltd. refinery in Saint John.

Transport Canada is searching the New Brunswick offices of the energy company to see if any federal rules or regulations were broken.

In September, the independent Transportation Safety Board said its preliminary investigation had found that the rail cars may have been mislabelled and were carrying a form of crude oil that was more combustible than what was indicated on the tankers.

The TSB is still investigating.

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