Guideline for Culvert Safety Management

Part A - General

0.1 - Definitions

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

"culvert" means any under-grade drainage structure that forms a passageway through an embankment that is not a railway bridge. This also includes cattle and pedestrian passageways.

"Culvert Safety Management Program (CSMP)" means part of an overall railway safety management system that facilitates the management of safety risks associated with culverts.

"designate" means a technically competent person assigned to work under the direction of a Railway Engineer.

"professional engineer" means a person who is authorized under a Canadian Provincial or Territorial Engineering Act to engage in the practice of professional engineering.

"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.

"railway authority" means the railway company responsible for the maintenance of the railway right of way.

"railway company" means as defined in the Canadian Transportation Act.

"railway right of way" means any land on which a line of railway is situated, including yard tracks, sidings, spurs and other track auxiliary to the line of railway.

"structural inspection" means a documented inspection made by a Railway Engineer or his designate to identify and record any changes, defects, or repairs. It includes measuring specific defects, verifying the general conditions of a culvert, and its surroundings in order for a Railway Engineer to be able to accurately evaluate all aspects of a culvert and determine if anything reported represents a present or potential hazard to safe railway operations.

"visual inspection" means an inspection, that may or may not be documented, made in accordance with railway authority's CSMP.

0.2 - Scope

This Guideline has been developed to assist a railway company in formulating a CSMP that will conform to the following:

  • Railway Safety Act (RSA);
  • Guidelines - Engineering Work Relating to Railway Works (Section 11 - Railway Safety Act);
  • Railway Safety Management System Regulations (SMS); and 
  • Track Safety Rules (TSR).

It will assist a railway company in order for it to:

  1. Establish a CSMP that identifies and mitigates, to the extent possible, hazards to users and other parties who may be exposed to risks associated with culverts and related activities;
  2. Implement, maintain and continually improve a CSMP; and
  3. Determine and assess compliance with all legislative requirements and internal practices, procedures and instructions relating to safe railway operations as it applies to culverts.

0.3 - Application

This Guideline applies to a railway company to which the Railway Safety Act applies.

0.4 - Responsibility

The railway authority is responsible for the condition of the culverts over which it or other railway companies operate trains regardless of any agreements, division of ownership or maintenance expense. The railway authority shall Footnote 1, ensure that the track is being adequately supported and shallFootnote 2 be able to control, and restrict if necessary, the movement of trains on its segment of track, including the track over a culvert.

For culverts that the railway authority is responsible for with respect to inspection, evaluation, and repairs, the railway authority shallFootnote 3 ensure safe railway operations are being maintained.

If a railway authority, to which this part applies, assigns responsibility for the track and culverts to another railway company, by lease or otherwise, written notification of the assignment should be provided to the appropriate TC Rail Safety Regional Office within 30 days following the assignment. The notification should be in writing and include the following:

  1. The name and address of the railway authority that is assigning responsibility;
  2. The name and address of the railway company to whom responsibility is assigned, (assignee);
  3. A statement of the exact relationship between the railway authority and the assignee; and
  4. A precise identification of the track segment.