OTTAWA, Ont.--The federal government is proposing new rail regulations to improve the safety of railway crossings. The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, announced the proposed Grade Crossings Regulations today.
A grade crossing, also known as a road or level crossing, is where a railway line crosses a road at the same level.
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.
Under the authority of the Railway Safety Act, the proposed regulations aim to 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 by:
Providing comprehensive and enforceable safety standards for grade crossings;
Clarifying the roles and responsibilities of railway companies and road authorities; and
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 responsibilities.