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Crossing regulations & standards

Crossing safety is a shared responsibility between cyclists, pedestrians, motorists, stakeholders and the railway. CP supports the objective to improve railway crossing safety and is committed to working with road authorities, private authorities and crossing users to ensure compliance with the new Grade Crossing Regulations and Standards.

During the 2006 review of the Railway Safety Act and the more recent Canadian Transportation Agency review, CP submitted that the Minister of Transport should have the sole authority to approve new crossings and should only do so as an option of last resort upon evidence of clear need and adequate safety. In the event of a new crossing opening an existing crossing should be closed so that there is no net increase in the number of crossings. A corridor view should be taken, with traffic routed to the safest crossing with all adjacent less safe crossings closed. The overall goal should be to reduce the number of crossings which will benefit overall public safety.

Guide to Working with CP to address Transport Canada's Grade Crossings Regulations and Standards

This guide was produced by CP to assist road authorities and private authorities (such as private crossing agreement holders or landowners) in understanding how to work with CP to address Transport Canada’s grade crossings regulations and standards and progress our mutual objective to improve railway crossing safety. ?

Summary of the Regulations

Between 2009 and 2015, there were an average of 178 incidents, resulting in 24 fatalities and 25 serious injuries per year (Source: TSB Canada). The Transportation Safety Board raised concerns that the risk of trains colliding with vehicles was too high. Mandated reviews of the Railway Safety Act emphasized the challenges of managing safety at grade crossings. As a result, Transport Canada has raised the standards and issued revised regulations for railway grade crossings.

The goals of the regulations are to:

  • Improve crossing safety
  • Provide consistent safety standards for new and existing public and private grade crossings
  • Clarify and define the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved with improving the safety of public and private grade crossings
  • Promote collaboration between railways and road authorities
  • Implement results-based regulations for a consistent level of safety for all types of crossings

Crossing ?Standards

New crossings must meet the regulations and standards immediately. If upgrading or changing an existing crossing, it must meet the regulations and standards immediately. Information on any changes must be shared between parties. Other existing private and public crossings must be inspected and upgraded, or closed, if required to meet the new regulations and standards by November 27, 2021.

Landowners with private crossings are also impacted by this regulation and should review Transport Canada's website for more information.?

Crossing Protection

The type of crossing protection at each grade crossing is determined based on regulatory requirements and safety. With thousands of crossings along our network, each is assessed on its own characteristics to determine the type of protection required for that crossing. Having crossing gates at a location does not protect a crossing completely – crossing safety is a shared responsibility and pedestrians, cyclists and motorists need to follow the rules of the road. The safest crossing is no crossing at all.

CP's Guide to Transport Canada's New Grade Crossings Regulations & Standards

Roles and Responsibilities

Railway

Under the regulations, CP shared the following information with the respective road authority for each crossing by November 27, 2016:

  • Location of the crossing
  • Number of tracks
  • Average annual daily railway movements
  • Railway design speed?
  • Type of warning system
  • Location of a stop sign
  • The requirement for whistling when railway equipment is approaching the grade crossing??

By November 27, 2021, CP is also responsible for ensuring the following parameters meet or exceed the requirements of the regulations:

  • The installation and maintenance of the Railway Crossing, Number of Tracks and Emergency Notification signs
  • The maintenance of a stop sign that is installed on the same post as a Railway Crossing sign
  • The design, maintenance and inspections of the crossing warning system
  • The installation and maintenance of the crossing surface between the ends of ties
  • The maintenance of sightlines within the railway right-of-way and over land adjoining the railway right-of-way, including the removal of trees and brush that obstruct the sightlines

Road Authority

To meet the information sharing requirements of the regulations, road authorities were required to provide the following information to CP by November 27, 2016:

  • Location of crossing
  • Number of lanes of traffic
  • Average annual daily traffic (AADT)
  • Road crossing design speed
  • Road specifications and standards
  • Width of each lane and shoulder(s)
  • The design vehicle
  • Vehicle stopping sight distance
  • Average approach gradient
  • Crossing angle, referred to in article 6.5 of the Grade Crossings Standards
  • Departure, activation, and pre-emption times
  • Any sidewalks, paths, or trails and if so, whether it is accessible

By November 27, 2021, public road authorities are responsible for ensuring the following parameters meet or exceed the requirements of the regulations:

  • The design, construction and maintenance of the road approaches
  • The maintenance of traffic control devices, except for the maintenance of a stop sign that is installed on the same post as a Railway Crossing sign
  • The design of the crossing surface
  • The maintenance of sightlines within the land on which the road is situated and over land in the vicinity of the grade crossing, including the removal of trees and brush that obstruct the sightlines

Review Transport Canada's website for more information on public crossings.?

Private Authority

The private authority(ies) responsible for a private grade crossing on CP's network have a role to play in making sure the requirements of the regulations are met by November 27, 2021. Transport Canada has assigned responsibilities to private authorities and CP is trying to contact and assist all private authorities, as much as possible, to understand the requirements of the regulations.

In early 2020, CP began contacting landowners with private crossings without agreements in place to validate who is responsible for the crossing(s) identified and confirm certain design parameters which are crucial in determining the amount of work required to meet the November 27, 2021 deadline at those crossing(s).

Review Transport Canada's website for more information on private crossings.

Implementation of Grade Crossing Regulations

Transport Canada has developed a phased-in approach to implementing the regulations. To ensure compliance, road authorities/private authorities and railways must work together on the following:

Step 1: Sharing Information (Public Crossings Only)

Completed in 2016 initially and ongoing as changes occur at public crossings.

Information shared by the road authorities is being reviewed and CP will be in contact if there are any discrepancies between what was provided and our field measurements or observations.

Step 2: Inspections and Collaboration (Public and Private Crossings)

Using information shared by road authorities for public crossings and information collected by CP, CP completed crossing assessments at all public and private crossings to develop initial scopes of work required for each crossing to meet or exceed the requirements of the November 27, 2021 deadline.

CP and the responsible authorities will work together to review crossings that require modifications to meet the regulations, as well as determine how those changes will be funded. Any crossings requiring modifications will become part of an action plan to meet the requirements of the regulations by November 27, 2021.

Changes

Prior to making certain changes at a crossing, a road authority must provide a railway company (and vice versa) with the details of the change, in writing, not later than 60 days before the change begins. This period may be reduced if the notified party agrees. Refer to the regulations for the nature of those changes.

Funding

Where certain criteria are met, Transport Canada offers:

  • Funding for the permanent closure of public and private grade crossings
  • A limited amount of funding for crossing safety improvements

Details on these programs can be found on Transport Canada's website

Railways and road/private authorities can work together to request funding through these programs and it is recommended that road/private authorities contact CP if they are planning to request funding under one of these programs.

Resources

CP Crossing Compliance
Email: crossing_compliance@cpr.ca

Transport Canada Rail Safety
Email: railsafety@tc.gc.ca
Phone: 1-613-998-2985

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