1999 TSB Recommendations & TC Responses

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R96S0106 - Trespasser Fatality - Via Rail Canada Inc. - Train No. 76 Mile 98.65, Chatham Subdivision, Tecumseh, Ontario - 12 July 1996 (R99-01)(R99-02)

TSB Full Text Report (R96S0106):

TSB Recommendation R99-01 and R99-02

Trespassing on Railway Rights-of-Way - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Report)

The Board recommends that:

The Department of Transport, together with all the partners involved in the safety initiative known as Direction 2006, assess the seven key result areas identified and strive to implement, in a priority fashion, those that are likely to provide immediate benefits; (R99-01)


The Department of Transport, together with its partners, use Direction 2006 and related consultation mechanisms to improve public awareness of the hazards inherent in walking across and along railway tracks, especially in high-speed train corridors. (R99-02)

Transport Canada's Response (R99-01 and R99-02)

(signed by Minister on June 10, 1999)

Transport Canada accepts both recommendations and continues to work actively with all the partners involved in Direction 2006. The seven (7) Key Result Areas (KRAs) of Education, Enforcement, Engineering, Research, Legislative Framework, Resources, and Communications are all progressing. Each KRA initiative is linked to the Communications KRA to ensure that all educational materials are completed and distributed in a timely manner.

The following priorities have either been initiated or are already completed and will provide immediate or short-term safety benefits:

Education and Communications

The Direction 2006 committee is aware of the importance that education plays in rail safety. A considerable emphasis will continue to be placed in this area.

As a result of the review of all current rail safety educational materials, the following public awareness materials aimed at making target audiences aware of the dangers associated with railway crossings and trespassing have been developed:

  • A Community Trespassing Prevention Guide will be printed this summer. The Guide will help communities address issues related to trespassing on railway property by fostering the harmonization and the standardization of training, education, public awareness and related messages.
  • A number of other written educational materials including brochures for road authorities and private and farm crossing owners are currently being finalized for distribution by early summer to such groups as police agencies, municipalities, Operation Lifesaver trainers and traffic committees. This initiative also includes revisions to the Driver Training Manuals issued by the Provinces.
  • Videos on the subject of trespassing are under development and will be ready for distribution by the end of 1999. They include the following:
    • A video aimed at children in grades 4 - 6;
    • A video aimed at snowmobile users; and
    • A video aimed at All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) users.
  • Several railway safety public service announcements (PSAs) are being distributed to radio and television audiences across Canada for airing in early summer of 1999. As part of this initiative, Minister Collenette and a Rail Safety Inspector will record individual announcements in the coming weeks.
  • These PSAs have been done in collaboration with railway police and other Direction 2006 stakeholders will emphasize specific situations where rail safety is of a particular concern.


Emphasis has been placed on increasing the awareness of rail safety with police agencies through the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) and through advertisements in police publications. With this broadened awareness, it is hoped that these agencies will place more emphasis on enforcement, particularly in the areas of trespassing on railway rights-of-way.

Legislative Framework

Under this KRA, Transport Canada has identified the importance of urban planning in reducing trespassing on railway rights-of-way and, as a first step, will be coordinating efforts with various Direction 2006 stakeholders to look at railway crossing consolidations and other sectors of activity, such as anti-whistling, urban planning, access control to railway rights-of-way and railway crossings at grade. The amendments to the Railway Safety Act, which received Royal Assent on March 25, 1999, contain provisions on the consolidation of crossings and on anti-whistling.


To address specific engineering concerns, a checklist is being developed to assist road authorities and railways in the identification of deficiencies at crossings.


Under the Research KRA, Transport Canada has proposed a program for research into crossing and trespassing problem areas, which could be implemented over the next three to four years. One such initiative is a study of the effectiveness of locomotive train horns.


Transport Canada is committed to reducing rail crossing and trespassing accidents by 50% by the year 2006. In order to achieve this, the department continues to support Direction 2006. In December 1998, the Minister, together with the Railway Association of Canada (RAC), announced federal funding of $250,000 to the RAC in support of the Direction 2006 rail safety program. The Department is also developing a financial plan for longer term funding of Direction 2006.

Other Comments

Transport Canada also supports rail safety through an annual contribution of $200,000 to the RAC for "Operation Lifesaver," a public education program that has promoted safety at railway crossings since 1981. In addition, the department supports the Grade Crossing Improvement Program (GCIP), under which eligible crossings are either upgraded, relocated or closed. For this program, annual expenditures are approximately $7 million. The department finances up to 80 per cent of the total cost of the improvements with the balance of the funding provided by the railways, municipalities or provinces.

A recent departmental initiative is the establishment of a Railway Safety Consultative Committee ( RSCC ). The Consultative Committee is being asked to establish a working group to develop and draft a proposed trespassing regulation with respect to railway rights-of-way access control.

In the meantime, the new trespassing provision contained in the Contravention Regulations allows enforcement officers, e.g. a railway police officer, to issue a ticket to a person trespassing on railway land. In the regulation, the fine is a set fine of $100 for a contravention.


R97T0299 - Collision - GO Transit Commuter Train No. 831 and Commuter Train No. 841 - Toronto Terminals Railway - Toronto, Ontario - 19 November 1997 (R99-03)(R99-04)

TSB Full Text Report (R97T0299):

TSB Recommendations R99-03 and R99-04

The Board recommends that:

GO Transit review its communication protocol as well as the design and installation of the Integrated Communications Control Unit (ICCU) to ensure that safety-critical information can be reliably transmitted and received. (R99-03)

The Board recommends that:

GO Transit review the emergency brake valves on all cab cars to ensure that they can quickly and easily be applied in an emergency situation. (R99-04)

Transport Canada's Response (R99-03 and R99-04)

Since these recommendations were directed at GO Transit, TC did not respond formally to the recommendations made in the report.


R98M0029 - Main Track Runaway, Collision and Derailment - Matapédia Railway Company, Canadian National Train No. A402-21-24 Mile 105.4, Mont-Joli Subdivision - Mont-Joli, Quebec - 24 September 1998 (R99-05)(R99-06)(R99-07)

TSB Full Text Report (R98M0029):

TSB Recommendations R99-05 and R99-06

Communications - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Report)

The Board therefore recommends that:

The Matapédia Railway Company implement an effective system to communicate operating policies and practices to its employees and the other railways with which it interfaces. (R99-05)

and that:

The Department of Transport, in consultation with the Railway Association of Canada, assess all railways under its jurisdiction to help ensure that they effectively communicate operating policies and practices to employees and the other railway companies with which they interface. (R99-06)

Transport Canada's Response (R99-06)

(signed by Minister on March 30, 2000)

Under federal requirements, railway companies are obligated to ensure that their operations are safe and that any other railway using their track is made aware and is in compliance with both the company's and the federal government's rules. To this end, the issue of communications among railways will be addressed as part of the ongoing consultations between the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) and Transport Canada.

The Department has written to the RAC and to the federally-regulated railways that are not members of the RAC, and will meet with them to discuss the issues raised in this recommendation thereby ensuring that they are fully aware of the federal safety requirements.

In addition, the issue of communicating operating policies and practices to other railway companies with which they interface is addressed in the proposed Railway Safety Management System Regulations referenced in the response to TSB recommendation R99-08.

In the interim, the Department's regional offices have ascertained through discussion with the railways the current effectiveness of communications regarding operating policies and practices of the other railway companies with which they interface. Very few communications problems have been identified.

TSB Recommendation R99-07

Supervision (Recommendation directed to Matapedia Railway Co.)

To evaluate compliance with desired operating policies and practices, railway companies develop and apply structured monitoring programs (e.g. proficiency testing/monitoring). At the time of the occurrence, the MRC did not have any such program in place, and conducted little monitoring of railway operations, particularly employees of other railways operating on its lines. Several instances of non-approved work practices were revealed during the investigation, such as employees employing special instructions that were not applicable on the MRC, employees not communicating with the MRC nor the RTC before leaving trains on the main track, and poorly prepared written communications (e.g. operating bulletins). Without a structured program, the MRC will continue to have difficulty properly assessing the level of safety of all operations on its property, and identifying non-approved work practices as well as other deficiencies. Therefore, the Board recommends that:

The Matapédia Railway Company (MRC) develop and apply a structured program that will effectively evaluate whether employees operating on MRC property are complying with its operating policies and procedures. (R99-07)

Transport Canada's Response (R99-05 and R99-07)

Transport Canada is not required to respond to (R99-05 & R99-07) as these recommendations were directed at The Matapédia Railway Company (MRC).