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Fund for victims of fiery oil train derailment grows to $345 million with latest contribution

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PORTLAND, Maine — The compensation fund for victims of a fiery oil train derailment that claimed 47 lives in a small town in Quebec has grown to $345 million with a contribution from the company that owned the shipment.

World Fuel Services Corp., which was accused in a lawsuit of downplaying the volatility of the crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken shale region, agreed to contribute $110 million to the settlement fund, leaving Canadian Pacific Railroad as the only company with potential liability that has declined to contribute.

U.S. bankruptcy trustee Robert Keach and his Canadian counterpart praised World Fuel Services for "good corporate citizenship." Keach added, "We only wish CP were showing similar citizenship."

Canadian Pacific transported the oil as far as Quebec before tankers moved onto rail lines owned and operated by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railways.

"CP contends that it is not among the parties responsible for the incident as the train was not operated by CP employees or travelling on CP tracks, nor were our locomotives, railcars or product involved in the derailment," railroad spokesman Martin Cej said Tuesday in a statement.

Much of downtown Lac Megantic was destroyed after the unattended Montreal, Maine & Atlantic train with 72 oil tankers began rolling and derailed July 6, 2013. More than 60 tankers derailed and several exploded.

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic filed for bankruptcy soon after the disaster.

Keach originally set a goal of a $500 million settlement fund. The companies that choose not to contribute to the fund could be sued individually if courts agree to a global injunction for settlement participants.

CP believes that compensation must come from those who are responsible "and that this compensation fund should not be used to free those parties responsible for the derailment from future liability and legal action," Cej said.

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