invests in grade crossing improvements in Manitoba
Source: Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Published: April 23rd 2008
WINNIPEG - In celebration of Rail Safety Week, the Honourable Vic
Toews, President of the Treasury Board, on behalf of the Honourable
Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities,
today announced that the Government of Canada will provide support for
six safety improvement projects at railway crossings in Manitoba.
"Whether in the city or in rural areas, where rail tracks and roads meet, there is a potential for accidents," said Minister Toews. "These improvements
will certainly make these intersections safer throughout the Province of Manitoba."
Transport Canada works closely with railway companies and communities across the country to identify grade crossings that require safety improvements. This announcement will provide more than $970,000 in funding for six railway crossings in Manitoba. Under the department's Grade Crossing Improvement Program, eligible railway crossings are either upgraded, relocated or closed, based on an assessment of factors such as traffic volume and accident history.
Improvements may include installing flashing lights and gates, adding gates or extra lights to existing systems, linking crossing signals to nearby traffic lights, modifying operating circuits, or adding new circuits or timing devices. The department finances up to 80 per cent of the total cost of the improvements, with the balance provided by the railways, municipalities or provinces and territories.
"Improving safety at crossings is a priority for our government," said Minister Cannon. "Accident rates and crossing fatalities have steadily
declined in recent years, and this funding will allow us to continue to work with rail companies and communities to improve the safety of rail crossings
for motorists and pedestrians throughout Canada."
Transport Canada supports other initiatives to improve safety at railway crossings, such as Operation Lifesaver. This public education program run by
the Railway Association of Canada has promoted safety at railway crossings since 1981 by providing awareness briefings to schools and communities,
developing and promoting videos, and sponsoring events.
A backgrounder on railway crossing facts and a list of the crossings scheduled for improvements are attached.
RAILWAY CROSSING FACTS AND TIPS
- There are approximately 55,000 public, private and pedestrian
highway-railway crossings in Canada.
- There are still too many fatalities and injuries as a result of highway-railway crossing collisions.
- Approximately 50 per cent of vehicle-train collisions occur at crossings with active warning devices (gates, lights, bells).
- Trains cannot stop quickly. An average freight train travelling at 100 km/h requires about 1.1 kilometres to stop. A passenger train
travelling at 120 km/h requires about 1.6 kilometres to stop. That's 14 football fields!
- Look for the crossbuck symbol that indicates a highway-railway crossing. Some more heavily travelled highway-railway crossings have lights and bells or gates.
- Listen for warning bells and whistles. Turn off, or turn down, distracting fans, heaters and radios until the crossing is safely cleared. Opening the window helps you hear better.
- Never drive around lowered gates - it's illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
- Never race a train to the crossing - even in a tie, you lose.
- Do not get trapped on the tracks. Proceed through a highway-railway crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember that the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
- If your vehicle stalls on the tracks at a crossing, immediately get everyone out and far away from the tracks. Move in the direction that the train is approaching from to avoid being hit by debris, because the momentum of the train will sweep your vehicle forward.
- When at a multiple-track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.
- Railway tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property.
Walking or playing on them is illegal, and trespassers are subject to arrest and fines. Too often the penalty is death.
- In 2007, 57 people were killed and 27 others seriously injured while trespassing on railway property.
- Do not walk, run, cycle or operate all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on railway tracks or rights of way or through tunnels.
- Cross tracks only at designated pedestrian or railway crossings. Observe and obey all warning signs and signals.
- Do not attempt to hop aboard railway equipment at any time. A slip of the foot could cost you a limb or your life.