Protecting the safety of Canadians travelling by rail and road at
federally regulated grade crossings
OTTAWA, Feb. 7, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of
Transport, today announced proposed Grade Crossings Regulations that
would establish new safety standards for federally regulated grade
crossings. A grade crossing, also known as a road or level crossing, is
where a railway line crosses a road at the same level.
Under the authority of the Railway Safety Act, the proposed regulations will improve safety by helping to reduce the
frequency and severity of accidents, therefore saving lives and
preventing injuries and derailments at federally regulated grade
crossings. In particular, the proposed regulations would improve safety
Providing comprehensive and enforceable safety standards for grade
Clarifying the roles and responsibilities of railway companies and road
Mandating the sharing of key safety information between railway
companies and road authorities.
The regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on February 8, 2014. Stakeholders and the public will have 90
days to comment on the proposed regulations. Comments will be
considered before the regulations are finalized and published in Canada Gazette, Part II.
The current approach to managing safety at grade crossings requires
collaboration between 1,460 municipal and provincial road authorities,
95 aboriginal bands, 32 railway companies, and many individual private
authorities. The proposed regulations would encourage increased
collaboration, require information-sharing and clarify roles and
The proposed regulations would improve safety at federally regulated
grade crossings, including approximately 14,000 public and 9,000
private grade crossings along 42,650 kilometres of federally regulated
railway tracks in Canada.
The proposed Grade Crossings Regulations are expected to help reduce the
number of collisions, fatalities and serious injuries and help prevent
derailments and damage to road vehicles.
"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, we can do better. These
proposed regulations will make grade crossings safer and save lives."
The Honourable Lisa Raitt Minister of Transport
Current federal acts and regulations governing grade crossings:
Proposed Grade Crossings Regulations
Promoting safer grade crossings for all Canadians
The safety of Canadians remains Transport Canada's top priority. Despite
ongoing outreach activities and the advent of new technologies,
avoidable collisions continue to occur at federally regulated grade
crossings. This is why, in January 2012, Transport Canada launched a
comprehensive public consultation process to help improve how railway companies and road authorities manage the
safety of grade crossings.
As a direct result, the proposed Grade Crossings Regulations introduce
several requirements that would improve safety standards, clarify roles
and responsibilities, and facilitate information sharing.
The key aspects of the proposed regulations include:
Introducing grade crossings standards
Railway companies and road authorities would be required to meet
improved and enforceable safety standards when building or altering
grade crossings and for existing grade crossings, such as the
introduction of signs and warning systems.
Managing roles, responsibilities, and information sharing
Grade crossing safety is a shared responsibility between railway
companies, road authorities, and private authorities. The proposed
regulations clearly define who is responsible for the design,
construction, maintenance and inspection of the crossing surface,
signage, and warning systems.
The proposed regulations specify what critical safety information must
be shared between railway companies and road authorities. The improved
exchange of information would promote a collaborative relationship
between the two responsible authorities.
Improving safety features
Safety features play a critical role at grade crossings. Under the
proposed regulations, sightlines would be required to be clear of any
obstructions—such as buildings, structures, trees or brush. Further,
railway companies would not be permitted to leave railway equipment
unattended if it impedes visibility at grade crossings.
Other safety features include design plans for warning systems and
standards for maintaining, inspecting and testing traffic control
devices. Railway companies would be required to keep records of these
activities and of any system malfunctions or failures for a minimum of
Temporary protection measures would be required when activities
undertaken at a railway line or road crossing pose a risk to the safety
of railway operations. Requirements regarding the cessation of train
whistling in certain areas would also come into force.
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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