Canada's New Government invests more than $760,000 in grade crossing improvements in Alberta during Rail Safety Week

    EDMONTON, April 23 /CNW Telbec/ - In celebration of Rail Safety Week, the
Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development,
and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, on behalf of the
Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities, today announced that Canada's New Government will provide more
than $760,700 for eight safety improvement projects at railway crossings in
    "Albertans should be safe around our railway crossings, which is why
Canada's New Government is investing in railway crossing improvements across
the province," said Minister Prentice. "New gates, lights and automated
warning systems will be added to the crossings and will help to prevent
    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.


                       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
    - 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



                                                                    (up to)
    Alberta   Carseland  Highway   Active advance warning sign /    $ 77,600
                         24        prepare-to-stop sign
    Alberta   Carseland  Highway   Active advance warning sign /    $ 52,000
                         24        prepare-to-stop sign
    Alberta   Eltham     Highway   Active advance warning sign /    $  9,600
                         23        prepare-to-stop sign
    Alberta   Eltham     Highway   Active advance warning sign /    $ 52,000
                         23        prepare-to-stop sign
    Alberta   Lacombe    Wolf      Gates, constant warning          $216,696
                         Creek     time device and interconnec-
                         Drive     tion to traffic signals
    Alberta   Leth-      Sunny-    Flashing lights, bells,          $185,600
              bridge     side Rd   gates and motion sensing
    Alberta   Parkland   Range     Raise crossing approach          $ 55,184
                         Road 61   grade
    Alberta   Wildwood   Highway   Short-arm gates                  $112,080

    Total                                                           $760,760

                                                                   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 Subscribe to news
releases and speeches at 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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