Canada's New Government invests more than $1.7 million in grade crossing improvements in Saskatchewan during Rail Safety Week



    REGINA, April 23 /CNW Telbec/ - In celebration of Rail Safety Week, the
Honourable Carol Skelton, Minister of National Revenue, on behalf of the
Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities, today announced that Canada's New Government will provide more
than $1.7 million for eight safety improvement projects at railway crossings
in Saskatchewan.
    "Saskatchewan produces more than two-thirds of Canada's wheat, and many
other agricultural products that must travel by train to reach markets," said
Minister Skelton. "That means that the places where roads and rails meet must
be safe for everyone. These improvements will help to reduce the risk of
accidents and fatalities at crossings in this province."
    Under Transport Canada's Grade Crossing Improvement Program, eligible
railway crossings are either upgraded, relocated or closed. Improvements may
include installing flashing lights and gates, adding gates or extra lights to
existing systems, linking crossing signals to nearby traffic lights, modifying
operating circuits, or adding new circuits or timing devices. The department
finances up to 80 per cent of the total cost of the improvements, with the
balance provided by the railways, municipalities or provinces and territories.
    "Although accident rates and crossing fatalities have reached their
lowest levels in 10 years, improving safety at crossings is a priority for
Canada's New Government," said Minister Cannon. "This funding will allow us to
continue to work with rail companies and communities to improve the safety of
rail crossings for motorists and pedestrians throughout Canada."
    Transport Canada supports other initiatives to improve safety at railway
crossings, such as Operation Lifesaver, a public education program of the
Railway Association of Canada that has promoted safety at railway crossings
since 1981.

    A backgrounder on railway crossing facts and a list of the crossings
    scheduled for improvements are attached.

    
                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------

                       RAILWAY CROSSING FACTS AND TIPS
                       -------------------------------

    - There are approximately 55,000 public, private and pedestrian
      highway/railway crossings in Canada.
    - In 2006, 28 people were seriously injured in 248 highway/railway
      crossing collisions.
    - Approximately 50 per cent of vehicle/train collisions occur at
      crossings with active warning devices (gates, lights, bells).
    - Trains cannot stop quickly. An average freight train travelling at 100
      km/h requires about  1.1 kilometres to stop. A passenger train
      travelling at 120 km/h requires about 1.6 kilometres to stop. That's 14
      football fields!
    - Look for the crossbuck symbol of a highway/railway crossing. Some
      more-travelled highway/railway crossings have lights and bells or
      gates.
    - Listen for warning bells and whistles. Turn off, or turn down,
      distracting fans, heaters and radios until the crossing is safely
      cleared. Opening the window helps you to hear better.
    - Never drive around lowered gates - it's illegal and deadly. If you
      suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or
      near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
    - Never race a train to the crossing - even in a tie, you lose.
    - Do not get trapped on the tracks. Only proceed through a
      highway/railway crossing if you are sure you can completely clear the
      crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is three feet wider than
      the tracks on both sides.
    - If your vehicle stalls on the tracks at a crossing, immediately get
      everyone out and far away from the tracks. Move in the direction that
      the train is approaching from to avoid being hit by debris, because the
      momentum of the train will sweep your vehicle forward.
    - At a multiple-track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for
      a second train on the other tracks, approaching in either direction.
    - Railway tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property.
      Walking or playing on them is illegal - trespassers are subject to
      arrest and fines. Too often the penalty is death.
    - In 2006, at least 59 people were killed while trespassing on railway
      property.
    - Do not walk, run, cycle or operate all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on
      railway tracks or rights-of-way or through tunnels.
    - Cross tracks only at designated pedestrian or railway crossings.
      Observe and obey all warning signs and signals.
    - Do not attempt to hop aboard railway equipment at any time. A slip of
      the foot can cost you a limb, or your life.

                                                                   April 2007

                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------

                     GRADE CROSSING IMPROVEMENTS PROGRAM
             FUNDING RECIPIENTS IN THE PROVINCE OF SASKATCHEWAN
             --------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    PROVINCE      LOCATION  ROAD      IMPROVEMENT                  FEDERAL
                                                                   CONTRI-
                                                                   BUTION
                                                                   (up to)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saskatchewan  Asquith   N-S-      Flashing lights, bells       $  233,840
                            Grid Rd   and gates and constant
                                      warning time device
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saskatchewan  Broad-    East      Flashing lights, bells       $  202,560
                  view      Access    and gates and constant
                            Rd        warning time device
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saskatchewan  Ituna     Hubbard   Flashing lights, bells       $  233,360
                                      and gates and constant
                                      warning time device
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saskatchewan  Midale    College   Flashing lights, bells and   $  229,120
                            Avenue    gates and constant warning
                                      time device and LED lights
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saskatchewan  Pilot     Highway   Gates, constant warning      $  218,480
                  Butte     1-8-40    time device and LED lights
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saskatchewan  Regina    Campbell  Flashing lights, bells and   $  226,880
                            St        gates and constant warning
                                      time device
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saskatchewan  Semans    N-S-      Flashing lights, bells       $  238,640
                            Grid Rd   and gates and constant
                                      warning time device
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saskatchewan  Yarbo     Highway   Gates and constant           $  145,840
                            80        warning time device
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Total                                                          $1,728,720
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                                   April 2007

    




For further information:

For further information: Natalie Sarafian, Press Secretary, Office of
the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613)
991-0700; Susan McLennan, Communications, Transport Canada, Winnipeg, (204)
983-6315; Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news
releases and speeches at www.tc.gc.ca/listserv/ and keep up-to-date on the
latest from Transport Canada; This news release may be made available in
alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.


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