TRANSCAER® and GATX team up to deliver lessons in railcar safety in Banff, Alberta

This past May, the Prairie Region TRANSCAER® Committee teamed up with GATX Corporation and the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) to deliver training to community members, tank car shippers, and first responders in Banff, Alberta. The training sessions – which took place over a three-day period – were held alongside the annual Disaster Forum Conference (May 8-11).

The conference provided participants a chance to network and learn about developments in risk management.  First responders, industry representatives, as well as local, provincial, and federal safety experts were in attendance.

Kara Edwards, National TRANSCAER® Coordinator for the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), says organizing the training session along with the conference was a unique opportunity for TRANSCAER® to reach out to an audience beyond the traditional first responder community, since many of the participants from the conference were from the emergency management sector. 

“It’s great to work collaboratively across industries to enhance transportation safety and make sure communities are aware and prepared,” says Edwards.

About 130 people participated in the training sessions, including attendees from the Disaster Forum Conference, GATX customers and members of the Banff and Canmore fire departments. A clear highlight of the event was the GATX training car, which gave participants an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of tank cars. The TankTrainer™ car – a mobile “classroom,” as GATX calls it – is a 33,500-gallon tank car equipped with various fittings, coatings, and configurations for training purposes.

Jeff Nee, Vice-President, Employee Health and Safety at GATX, notes of the car, “It’s equipped with all the various service equipment, which allows participants to see it all in one spot.”

“We take them on top of the car, inside the car, around the outside, and go over things they should know,” says Randy Mak, Prairie Region and National TRANSCAER® Chair.

GATX has offered more than 250 similar training sessions across North America since 1993, including one last April to members of Congress at Union Station in Washington, D.C. GATX has operations in Canada and is a CIAC Responsible Care® Partner. Nee says the training cars make their way to Canada every year.

In addition to the training car, GATX also offered training sessions inside a car resembling an actual classroom, complete with desks and an instructor.
Of the classroom sessions, Nee notes, “We provide a basic overview of the tank car and give them a basic understanding of the key components of the equipment on a tank car, such as how they are loaded and unloaded.”

Mak explains that the event “all came together” because of the teamwork between the event planners, including Curtis Myson from RAC, Dustin Ritter from Canadian Pacific and Mak himself.  Also instrumental in delivering the event were the teams from GATX, Ironhorse Emergency Response, and the Disaster Forum Conference.

“Through the planning stages we had to learn each other’s different terminologies, and we all helped each other,” Mak says. “The cooperation was tremendous.”

This was one of the first TRANSCAER® outreach events for the region in 2017 and it was a great example of how collaboration across industries can help inform first responders, emergency managers, and other key community members – helping ensure they are aware and prepared.

About GATX: GATX Corporation (NYSE:GATX) strives to be recognized as the finest railcar leasing company in the world by its customers, its shareholders, its employees and the communities where it operates. As the leading global railcar lessor, GATX has been providing quality railcars and services to its customers for more than 118 years. GATX has been headquartered in Chicago, Illinois since its founding in 1898. For more information, please visit the Company’s website at