MILTON, ON, April 27, 2014 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada today
launched Rail Safety Week with new funding to improve railway
This year, Transport Canada will provide more than $9.2 million for
improvements at over 600 railway crossings across the country through
its Grade Crossing Improvement Program (GCIP). Under the GCIP, eligible
railway crossings are upgraded based on factors such as traffic volume
and accident history. Improvements may include installing flashing
lights and bells, installing gate barriers, linking crossing signals to
traffic signals, upgrading light bulbs to brighter LED lights, or
adding new circuits or timing devices. Transport Canada finances up to
50 per cent of the total eligible costs of grade crossing improvements
(to a maximum of $550,000 per project), with the balance provided by
the railways and/or road authorities.
Through the Grade Crossing Closure Program (GCCP), funding is available
to encourage the closure of certain grade crossings that are under
federal jurisdiction. The program provides a $20,000 grant for a public
grade crossing and a $5,000 grant for a private grade crossing in
exchange for the beneficiary (generally a road authority or private
property owner) relinquishing their rights to the crossing and closing
it. In 2013-14, Transport Canada approved $100,000 in GCCP funding to
close 11 crossings in the interest of public safety.
The Government of Canada also supports other initiatives to improve
safety at railway crossings, such as Operation Lifesaver - a national
public education program whose goal is to reduce the needless loss of
life, injuries and damages caused by highway/railway crossing
collisions and train/pedestrian incidents. Transport Canada provides
Operation Lifesaver with $300,000 per year to support their safety
outreach and education campaigns.
Rail Safety Week, taking place this year from April 28 to May 4, is a
national celebration aimed at increasing awareness of safety around
railway operations and highlighting government's and industry's
commitment to making the rail system safer for Canadians.
Almost half of all railway-related deaths and injuries result from
accidents at crossings. The Government of Canada is committed to
reducing the number of these accidents by working closely with railway
companies and communities to identify grade crossings that require
Studies reveal that accident rates fall by up to 69 per cent and
fatality rates by up to 80 per cent after grade crossing improvements
"A safe and secure national rail transportation system is important to
local communities and to Canada's economic well-being. While Canada has
one of the safest rail systems in the world, improvements can still be
made. This investment will enhance safety for pedestrians and motorists
at over 600 locations across the country, and help save lives."
Honourable Lisa Raitt,
Minister of Transport
Backgrounders: Grade Crossing Improvement Program, Railway Crossing
Facts and Tips
Grade Crossing Improvement Program (GCIP)
Almost half of all railway-related deaths and injuries in Canada result
from accidents at grade crossings. The Government of Canada is
committed to reducing the number of these injuries and deaths by
working closely with railway companies and road authorities to identify
grade crossings that require safety improvements. Through the
Government of Canada's Grade Crossing Improvement Program (GCIP),
contributions are available for safety improvements at public grade
crossings that are under federal jurisdiction.
Through the GCIP, Transport Canada funds up to 50 per cent of safety
enhancement costs (to a maximum of $550,000 per project)at many sites
across Canada every year.
Some examples of eligible projects are:
installing flashing lights, bells and gates;
replacing incandescent lights with LEDs;
adding gates or extra lights to existing signal systems;
interconnecting crossing signals to nearby highway traffic signals;
modifying operating circuits within automated warning systems;
improving roadway alignment or grades; and
modifying nearby intersections and adding traffic control signals in
These sites are most often identified through:
an application from a road authority and/or railway company;
an inspection by a Transport Canada railway safety inspector, through
regular monitoring or after an accident;
a recommendation following an accident, including any made by the
Transportation Safety Board of Canada; or
a complaint concerning the safety of a crossing.
2014-2015 Grade Crossing Improvement Program Funding
Number of Projects
Railway crossing facts and tips
There are about 14,000 public and 9,000 private grade crossings along
42,650 kilometres of federally regulated rail lines in Canada.
Although grade crossing accidents have generally fallen over the past 25
years, there has been a marked increase in fatalities at grade
crossings since 2009.
Look for the crossbuck symbol that indicates a highway-railway crossing.
Some more heavily 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 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. Proceed through a highway-railway
crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing
without stopping. Remember that 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.
When at a multiple-track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out
for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either
Railway tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property.
Walking or playing on them is illegal, and trespassers are subject to
arrest and fines. Too often the penalty is death.
In 2013, there were 44 trespassers killed and 10 seriously injured 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 could cost you a limb or your life.
SOURCE: Transport Canada
For further information:
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Transport Canada, Ottawa
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