Guideline for Bridge Safety Management

Part A – General

0.1 - Definitions

For the purposes of this Guideline, the terms and definitions given in the Railway Safety Act apply in addition to those given below:

"bridge" means a "railway bridge" or an "overhead bridge" that the railway company is responsible for with respect to inspection, evaluation, repairs, and the posting of load limits. This excludes "third party overhead bridges".

"Bridge Safety Management Program (BSMP)" means a program that facilitates the management of all safety risks associated with bridges. This includes the key positions in the railway corporate structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes, standards, drawings, and personnel required for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing and maintaining the program.

"overhead bridge" means any structure carrying pedestrian, highway, or railway trafficthat spans over all or a portion of the railway right of way.

"railway bridge" means any structure with a deck, regardless of length, which supports one or more railway tracks, or any other under grade structure with an individual span length of 10 feet or more located at such a depth that it is affected by live loads.

"third party overhead bridge" means an "overhead bridge" that the railway company is not responsible for with respect to inspection, evaluation, repairs, and the posting of load limits.

Section Analysis 0.1 – Definitions

A "railway bridge" is any structure that spans an opening under the track except for a small culvert, pipe, or other such structure where that structure is located so far below the track that it only carries dead load from soil pressure and is not subjected to measurable bending, tension, or compression stresses from passing trains. Unloading pits, car dumpers, track scales, turntables, transfer tables, and waterfront structures such as piers and wharves that fall within the definition of a railway bridge are considered railway bridges for purposes of this Guideline.

Culverts with a span of 10 feet or more located at such a depth that they are affected by live loads are considered bridges and should be included in the railway company's inventory as such. The determination of whether such a structure is affected by live loads is the responsibility of the Railway Bridge Engineer, through the use of appropriate engineering methods and judgment.

A railway bridge deck includes open decks, ballasted decks, and solid decks. Essentially, a railway bridge deck is the component of the bridge on which the track is supported, and which is subject to bending stresses from trains moving over it.

0.2 – Scope

This Guideline has been developed to assist a railway company in formulating a BSMP that will follow the objectives of the Railway Safety Act.

It is applicable to the railway company for it to:

  1. Implement and maintain a BSMP that identifies and mitigates, to the extent possible, hazards to users and other parties, who may be exposed to risks associated with bridges and related activities;
  2. Ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the BSMP in maintaining safe railway operations with respect to bridges; and
  3. Determine and assure compliance with all legal requirements, internal practices, procedures and instructions relating to safe railway operations as it applies to bridges.

0.3 – Application

This Guideline is intended for railway companies to whom the Railway Safety Act applies.

0.4 – Responsibility

A railway company is responsible for ensuring that inspections and maintenance are performed on railway bridges on a line where railway companies operate trains over the railway bridges. This overall responsibility may not be assigned to a road authority regardless of any agreements between the railway company and the road authority. The responsible railway company may be the track owner or another railway e.g. designated through a lease or other agreement as long as the track owner knows who is responsible and the responsibilities are clearly defined between the relevant railway companies.

For overhead bridges where the railway company is responsible for the inspection, evaluation, repairs, and verifications of load limits it shallFootnote 1 ensure that the structure is adequate for its posted load limit and that safe railway operations are being maintained.

For third party overhead bridges, the railway company is expected to carry out inspections as per the Rules Respecting Track Safety to ensure that safe railway operations are maintained.