Order pursuant to Section 19 of the Railway Safety Act (MO 22-04)

Transport Canada
427 Laurier Avenue, 14th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A ON5

July 25, 2022

Dear Sir /Madam:

As you may be aware, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has issued Recommendation R22-01 following their investigation into the fatal derailment near Field, British Columbia on February 4, 2019. 

The TSB recommended that Transport Canada establish enhanced test standards and time-based maintenance requirements for brake cylinders on freight cars operating on steep descending grades in cold ambient temperatures.

In response to this TSB recommendation, and to reduce the risk posed to train operations in cold weather, Transport Canada is requiring railway companies and local railway companies to revise the Railway Freight and Passenger Train Brake Inspection and Safety Rules pursuant to subsection 19(1) of the Railway Safety Act (RSA). The revisions will strengthen regular air brake inspection requirements, require a winter operating plan for equipment, and will establish test standards and periodic maintenance requirements of air brake cylinders.

Phase I of the proposed revisions to the rules must be filed with the Minister of Transport for approval no later than November 30, 2022. Phase II of the revisions must be filed no later than May 31, 2023. This will allow sufficient time for the consultation period as required by subsection 19(2) of the RSA before the filing of the proposed rules.

Should you have any questions, please contact Stéphanie Plouffe, A/Director, Regulatory Affairs at (613) 291-1843 or stephanie.plouffe@tc.gc.ca. Alternatively, if you would like to discuss technical aspects of this issue, please contact Malick Sidibé, A/Senior Director, Operations Management at (613) 608-1452 or malick.sidibe@tc.gc.ca.



Director General

Rail Safety

c.c.:     G. Doherty, TCRC-MWED            L. Cyr, TCRC-MWED           L. Couture, IBEW
            K. Neumann, USW                        T. Lundblad, USW                 C. Crabtree, ATU      

          S. Pickthall, IAMAW                     D. Ashley, TCRC                  L. Robillard, TCRC
         B. Snow, UNIFOR                         E. Féquet, TUT                       S. Leyshon, BLET     
         S. Bailey, TCRC                             N. Lapierre, Syndicat des Métallos    



MO 22-04



RAILWAY SAFETY ACT, CHAPTER R-4.2, [R.S., 1985, C. 32 (4th SUPP.)]

Paragraph 19(1)(a) of the Railway Safety Act (RSA) gives the Minister of Transport the authority to order a company to formulate rules respecting any matter referred to in subsections 18(1) or (2.1) of the RSA, or to revise its rules respecting that matter.

Pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 19(1)(a) of the RSA, the railway companies and local railway companies listed in Appendix A are hereby ordered to revise the Railway Freight and Passenger Train Brake Inspection and Safety Rules to incorporate enhanced air brake inspection and maintenance requirements to reduce the risk posed to train operations in cold weather.

The revised rules should be based on an assessment of safety risks, and shall, at a minimum, address the following elements:

Phase I – Regular Inspection

  1. Ensure that a train is not permitted to depart a designated safety inspection location with less than 100% operative air brakes;
  2. While a train is en route, require that, when the airflow exceeds 60 cubic feet per minute (CFM) with a single air source, 90 CFM with multiple air sources, when the automatic brake handle is in the release position, other than during intended brake application and/or release activity, or the pressure gradient exceeds 15 psi:
    1. the train must be stopped at the next available location where an inspection can be safely performed;
    2. if the airflow does not return to the required levels, the train must be inspected for leaks in the brake system and corrective actions must be implemented as required.
  3. Require that when conducting the No.1 brake test:
    1. the brakes on each car must apply in response to a minimum 20 psi brake pipe service reduction and must remain applied until a release of the air brakes has been initiated by the controlling locomotive or yard test device;
    2. the brakes must not be applied or released until the proper signal is given;
    3. a car found with brakes that fail to apply or remain applied may be retested and remain in the train if the retest is conducted at an air pressure that is within 15 psi of the air pressure at which the train will be operated. The retest may be conducted from either the controlling locomotive, the head-end of the consist, or with a suitable test device positioned at one end of the car(s) being retested, and the brakes must remain applied until a release is initiated after a period which is no less than three minutes.  
  4. Requirement for a winter operating plan for equipment. 
    1. Develop and adhere to a plan which prescribes measures to be taken at specified temperature thresholds to reduce the risk of equipment caused derailment.
    2. Measures will include, but not be limited to, speed restrictions and enhanced equipment inspection and brake testing requirements.

Phase II – Test Standards and Periodic Maintenance of Air Brake Cylinders

  1. Establish test standards capable of assessing brake cylinder performance of freight cars operating on steep descending grades in cold ambient temperatures. 
  2. Establish requirements for periodic maintenance of air brake cylinders, including the specific maintenance measures to be undertaken, and the prescribed maintenance intervals of freight cars operating on steep descending grades in cold ambient temperatures.
  3. Establish requirement to keep records of testing and maintenance activities undertaken, the results and corrective measures.

In meeting the requirements under Phase II, industry may propose rules which incorporate a performance-based alternative, provided that the alternative achieves the same outcomes.   

Subsection 19(2) of the RSA requires that a company shall not file rules unless it has first, during a period of sixty days, given a reasonable opportunity for consultation with it on the rules.

  1. In the case of a railway company, each relevant association or organization that is likely to be affected by the implementation of the rules; or
  2. In the case of a local railway company, any railway company on whose railway the
    local railway company operates that is likely to be affected by the implementation of
    the rules.

Pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 19(1)(b) of the RSA, Phase I of the revisions to the rules shall be filed with the Minister of Transport for approval by November 30, 2022, and Phase II of the revisions to the rules shall be filed with the Minister of Transport for approval by May 31, 2023.


Director General, Rail Safety




9961526 Canada Limited

Agawa Canyon Railroad ULC

Battle River Railway NGC Inc.

Big Sky Railway Corp.

BioPower Sustainable Energy Corporation

BNSF Railway Company

Boundary Trail Railway Company, Inc.

Canadian National Railway Company

Canadian Pacific Railway Company

Cando Rail & Terminals Ltd.  

Canfor Pulp Ltd. – Northwood Division

Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway Ltd.

Cargill Limited – Cargill Limitée

Carlton Trail Railway Company

Celanese Canada ULC

Central Manitoba Railway Inc.

Chemin de fer de Québec-Gatineau Inc.

Chemin de fer Orford Express Inc.

Chemin de fer Québec North Shore & Labrador

Chemin de fer Sartigan

City of Ottawa Carrying on Business as Capital Railway

Compagnie de chemin de fer Roberval-Saguenay

CSX Transportation, Inc.

Eastern Maine Railway Company

GIO Railways Corporation

Goderich-Exeter Railway Company Limited

Great Canadian Railtour Company Ltd.

Great Sandhills Railway Ltd.

Great Western Railway, Ltd.

Heartland Sulphur LP

Hudson Bay Railway Company

Huron Central Railway Inc.

IMTT Québec Inc.

Inter Pipeline Propylene Ltd.

Kamloops Heritage Railway Society

Keewatin Railway Company

Kettle Falls International Railway Company

Knob Lake and Timmins Railway Company Inc.

Koch Fertilizer Canada, ULC

Lake Line Railroad Inc.

Last Mountain Railway

Magris Talc Canada Inc.

Maska-Wa Transportation Association Inc.


National Railroad Passenger Corporation (AMTRAK)

Nipissing Central Railway

Norfolk Southern Railway Company

Ontario Northland Transportation Commission

Ontario Southland Railway Inc.

Pacific & Arctic Railway Navigation, British Columbia & Yukon Railway, British Yukon Railway doing business as White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad (WP&YR)

Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc.

Prairie Rail Solutions Ltd.

RaiLink Canada Ltd.

Railserve Inc.

Réseau de transport métropolitain

RIO Tinto Alcan

RTC Rail Solution Ltd.

Société du chemin de fer de la Gaspésie

Southern Rails Co-operative Ltd.

Southern Railway of British Columbia Limited

St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad (Québec) Inc.

St. Paul & Pacific Northwest Railroad Company, LLC

Stewart Southern Railway Inc.

The Essex Terminal Railway Company

The Toronto Terminals Railway Company Limited

The Vintage Locomotive Society Inc. O/A Prairie Dog Central Railway

Thunder Rail Ltd.

Torch River Rail Inc.

Transport Ferroviaire Tshiuetin Inc.

Trillium Railway Co. Ltd.

Union Pacific Railroad Company

VIA Rail Canada Inc.

West Coast Express Limited

West Coast Railway Association

Windsor Transload Inc.