Nantes Quebec - Three years after a freight train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in Lake Megantic, residents are renewing calls for a rail line that circumvents the town.
There have been promises to build a bypass by 2021-2022, but a local safety group says it should happen sooner.
"The train still goes through downtown with tanks filled with dangerous products," said Robert Bellefleur, spokesman for a citizens' coalition for rail safety.
"Everyone is still afraid of the train."
Bellefleur called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard to move swiftly to make the bypass happen.
Bellefleur made the comments at a morning news conference in Nantes, Quebec, where the train carrying crude oil was parked on 6 Jul 2013 before it rolled into Lake Megantic and destroyed much of its downtown core.
In all, 47 people were killed in the disaster.
Residents held a noon ceremony to mark the third anniversary of the disaster, where church bells rang 47 times, once for each victim.
Struggling to Move Forward
Restoration work in the town is underway following the demolition of damaged structures and removal of contaminated soil.
Infrastructure projects currently being built include electricity, communications, and sewers.
Frontenac Street, at the town's centre, is expected to reopen this fall.
Stephane Lavallee, director of the Lake Megantic Reconstruction Office, said "the best way to honour the ones who died is to move forward."
Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) filed for bankruptcy after the tragedy.
Three men, including Tom Harding, the train's engineer, are each facing 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death.
The new owner of the tracks, the Bangor, Maine-based Central Maine & Quebec Railroad (CMQ), spent millions of dollars to improve safety before resuming shipments of hazardous materials in the fall of 2014.
As it stands, trains are limited to 16 kilometres per hour while travelling through town.
But no crude oil has moved through Lake Megantic since the tragedy.
CMQ CEO John Giles has promised to visit Lake Megantic to talk to residents about safety when oil shipments eventually resume.
Giles said the railroad's business is growing but that the funding for a bypass would have to come from the province and from the Canadian government.
The small railroad doesn't have millions of dollars to invest on the project, he said.