Committee to study whether to have rail line running through Lac-Megantic

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LAC-MEGANTIC, Que. - A committee studying the relaunch of Lac-Megantic says the wisdom of having a rail line running through the centre of town again needs to be evaluated.

Part of the community's downtown was destroyed and 47 people were killed last July when a runaway freight train loaded with volatile fuel oil derailed from tracks and exploded.

Municipal leaders and townsfolk have argued the line should be moved so a similar tragedy doesn't happen again.

Municipal Affairs Minister Pierre Moreau said today the feasibility study will look at various factors, including the volume of traffic and the type of materials to be transported.

Colette Roy Laroche, the mayor of Lac-Megantic, also points out that the human factor must be considered as well because many townsfolk suffered psychological trauma from the tragedy.

Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette responded by saying the needs would be addressed.

The cost of the study is estimated at $2.5 million and would be shared between the provincial government, the town and Fortress Group.

Fortress is the new owner of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, whose train was involved in the tragedy.

The federal government has not confirmed its involvement in the study but Moreau said he is confident Ottawa will participate.

Organizations: Fortress Group

Geographic location: Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Montreal Maine Ottawa

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