LOCATION: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Mile 0.79 of the Wilke Subdivision)
ISSUE: Collision at a crossing between a Canadian Pacific Train and an Access Transit Bus
DATE: January 21, 2021
- Safety is my top priority. Consistent with this priority, Transport Canada is committed to protecting all Canadians who live and work along rail lines by putting in place the necessary measures to reduce the risk of serious accidents.
- Transport Canada will review the incident involving a collision between a train and transit bus at a crossing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and will take all necessary actions to protect public safety.
- Transport Canada has implemented several measures to improve rail safety, including safety at crossings. For example, in November 2014, the department established stronger safety requirements in the Grade Crossings Regulations, such as signage, sightlines, and warning systems.
- Transport Canada actively monitors railways through inspections to verify that crossings meet these regulated safety requirements.
- Transport Canada provides funding to support improvements to grade crossings, through the Rail Safety Improvement Program. For public grade crossings, the Rail Safety Improvement Program provides up to 80% of total eligible expenditures (e.g. crossing protection, signage, infrastructure improvements). For any public grade crossing closures, a maximum grant of $25,000 is available.
- Transit buses must meet a stringent set of requirements set out in the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, such as brake and accelerator control systems, mirrors and visibility systems, and emergency exit requirements.
- Transport Canada also works closely with all levels of government and industry partners on a number of road safety initiatives, such as adoption of collision avoidance technologies, regulations to improve motor vehicle safety, and measures to prevent driver distraction and fatigue.
- Media reports indicate that at 08:45 ET January 21, 2021, a collision occurred between a Canadian Pacific train and a City of Saskatoon Access Transit bus at a crossing in Saskatoon Saskatchewan. The bus operator had parked the bus to help a passenger off while another passenger remained on board. The bus was parked too close to the rails and was struck by the train.
- The Canadian Pacific crew put the train into emergency but was unable to stop prior to contacting the transit bus.
- There were no injuries. Fire Department and paramedics attended and transferred the remaining bus passenger to hospital as a precaution.
- The crossing is protected with flashing lights and bells. There are no gates at the crossing. The train was traveling at 5 mph. The train rang the bell at the crossing prior to the collision. The whistle was not used as whistle cessation is in place at this location.
- According to the 2020 Grade Crossings Inventory, the risk ranking of this crossing is 110. This inventory compiles a list of 23,000 crossings in Canada, and ranks them according to aggregated risk factors (1 being the greatest risk ranking). The department will schedule an inspection of the crossing, to take place as soon as possible while respecting COVID-19-related safety protocols.
- The department has followed-up with the Transportation Safety Board. The Board has confirmed they are not planning to deploy an investigator.
Grade Crossing Regulations
- Railway companies, road authorities (provinces, municipalities, band councils), and private crossing owners are each responsible for managing railway crossing safety in Canada.
- In November 2014, Transport Canada introduced new Grade Crossings Regulations to help reduce the frequency and severity of accidents at federally-regulated crossings.
- In the case of existing crossings, railway companies, road authorities, and private land owners have seven years (by November 2021) to comply with requirements, such as signage, sightlines, and warning systems.
- Starting in 2015, Transport Canada took and continues to take measures to ensure road authorities, private crossing owners and railway companies have the information needed to comply with the regulations and to understand what funding is available.
Rail Safety Improvement Program
- Transport Canada provides funding support for improvements to grade crossings, through its Rail Safety Improvement Program. The program is a comprehensive approach to improving the safety of rail transportation through investment in infrastructure, technology, research, public education, and awareness.
- The program provides federal funding, in the form of grants and contributions, to improve rail safety and reduce injuries and fatalities related to rail transportation towards two key components:
- Infrastructure, Technology and Research; and
- Public Education and Awareness Component.