Experts to present reports on Barrhaven-area railway crossing signals on May 15 - Probable cause of April 28th incident determined

MONTRÉAL, May 1, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - On April 10th, following reports of VIA Rail's Automatic Warning Devices (AWDs) systems at six Barrhaven-area rail crossings going into fail-safe mode with higher frequency and for longer periods of time than usual, VIA Rail retained experts at RailTerm and engineers from Hatch Mott MacDonald and Siemens to conduct an investigation of its infrastructure and signaling system, and further investigate the root causes of these occurrences. Following receipt of the expert reports, VIA Rail will develop its action plan to address any outstanding issues.

On April 30th, VIA Rail received a first expert report. Other expert reports are expected early next week. The Corporation will consider the reports' findings, recommendations, and actions taken to-date. It will elaborate its own action plan if the reports recommend that further actions be undertaken.

On May 15th, at an Ottawa City Council committee, the consulting firms will present their reports, and VIA Rail will present its action plan. It is hoped that, following the briefing, VIA Rail, its contractors and the City of Ottawa can work cooperatively to resolve all issues related to rail crossings in the area, in the interest of the safety of VIA Rail's passengers and Ottawa residents.

Probable cause of April 28th incident determined
On April 30th, following VIA Rail's April 29th news release, City of Ottawa officials shared with VIA Rail and RailTerm engineering staff a city video of the incident of April 28th on Fallowfield Road. The video shows that the OC Transpo bus clearly stopped beyond the stop line, the north gate hit the bus, and the OC Transpo bus proceeded to back-up to the regulated stop line. Following further investigation by VIA Rail and RailTerm engineering staff, it was determined that the fail-safe mode may not have been caused by the OC Transpo bus hitting the north gate at Fallowfield Road, but by the south gate, which was misaligned. Notwithstanding the cause of Monday evening's incident, it remains that on both Friday, April 25th and Monday, April 28th, OC Transpo buses stopped beyond the stop line. For VIA Rail, these types of breaches are unacceptable.

Provided that road traffic respects signals and stop at the stop line when approaching a railway crossing, the AWDfail-safe mode ensures that both road and train traffic cross the area safely, at all times.

This week is PUBLIC-RAIL Safety Week in Canada which makes it the ideal time to remind everyone that crossing signals must be respected at all times. One should never attempt to cross a railway line when warning devices have been activated regardless of the inconvenience it may cause.

Up to date information about Barrhaven-area rail crossings is on the webpage "Information for Ottawa area residents": www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/information-ottawa-area-residents, on Twitter @VIA_rail or on Facebook.

About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is to provide safe, efficient and economical travel, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500 km network. Recipient of the Railway Association of Canada's Safety Award in 2012 for the 11th time in 12 years, and of Baxter Travel Media's 2013 Agent's Choice Award (voted on by Canadian travel agents), VIA Rail safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has invested more than a billion dollars in VIA Rail. Follow the progress of our transformation at viarail.ca/transformingvia.

Follow us on our Evolution Blog at viaevolution.ca, on Twitter @VIA_rail and on Facebook.

SOURCE: VIA Rail Canada Inc.

For further information: Jacques C. Gagnon, Senior Manager, Media and Community Relations, VIA Rail Canada, 514 871-6604 | 1 877 393-8787, jacques_gagnon@viarail.ca | media@viarail.ca

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