Railways 101

Grade Crossing Regulations

Under the Grade Crossing Regulations (the Regulations) published November 29th, 2014, railway companies, public and private authorities share the responsibility for managing the safety at federally-regulated grade crossings. They must work together to make sure that regulations, standards and guidelines are applied, and the best options are used to make crossings safe.

DO THE REGULATIONS APPLY TO ME?
Are you a landowner (farmer, commercial business, private individual), Municipality, Province, or a Band Council that has a federally regulated grade crossing(s) (also known as level crossings, railway crossings or train crossings) on your property?

IF YES, then you are subject to the requirements of Transport Canada’s Grade Crossing Regulations.

Railway Companies and Road Authorities will work together to determine which crossings require joint inspections and upgrades to meet Transport Canada’s new regulations, as well as determine how upgrades will be funded. Any crossings requiring upgrades will become part of an action plan to meet the terms of the new regulations by 2021.

WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES AS A PRIVATE LANDOWNER (FARMER, COMMERCIAL BUSINESS, PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL)?

You must make sure that any of your new or existing private grade crossings meet the requirements of the regulations.  You must (where applicable):

What is the responsibility of the railway company that owns tracks crossing my private road?  Where applicable, railways must:

  • Install and maintain:
    • a railway crossing sign
    • a number of tracks sign
    • an emergency notification sign
  • Maintain the stop sign if it’s installed on the same post as the railway crossing sign
  • Install and maintain a warning system
  • Install and maintain a crossing surface and a road approach within the railway right-of-way
  • Choosing design speed and the design vehicle for the private crossing
  • Make sure good sightlines are maintained, including removing any trees or brush
    • within the railway right-of-way
    • over land next to the railway right-of-way, other than sightlines over land owned by a private crossing owner.

Railway Company should have contacted you already as they will be working directly with you to address private crossings.

WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITES AS A PUBLIC AUTHORITY (MUNICIPALITY, PROVINCE, BAND COUNCIL)?

What are my requirements? 

  1. You must share safety-related information with the railways that cross your public road,
  2. Decide on what changes (if any) are needed to make sure the grade crossing meets the regulations (see your agreement for any changes to these roles and responsibilities). Should changes be necessary:
  3. Designing, building, and maintaining a road approach outside of the railway right-of-way (contact the railway company to find out where the railway’s property ends and yours begins)
  4. Installing and maintaining traffic control devices, except for stop signs that are installed on the same post as the railway crossing sign (also known as a crossbuck).
  5. Providing information that will affect the design of the crossing surface
  6. Maintaining sightlines, including removing any trees or brush:
    • within the land where the road is located
    • on land near the grade crossing

To meet minimum sightlines requirements, the regulations have flexible options that include reducing vehicle speed, or installing a warning system.

What is the responsibility of the railway company that owns the tracks crossing a public road? Where applicable, railways must:

  • Install and maintain:
    • a railway crossing sign
    • a number of tracks sign
    • an emergency notification sign
  • Maintain the stop sign if it’s installed on the same post as the railway crossing sign
  • Install and maintain a warning system
  • Install and maintain a crossing surface
  • Make sure sightlines are maintained, including removing any trees or brush
    • within the railway right-of-way
    • over any land next to the railway property

WHAT IS THE DEADLINE TO COMPLY WITH THE REGULATIONS?

November 27, 2021

Railway Companies and Road Authorities must ensure that required upgrades to existing crossings are completed. This will include an emphasis on signage, sightlines, warning devices, vehicle use and pedestrian access.

WHO’S RESPONSIBLE FOR COSTS?

Depending on the agreement you may have with the railway company, or the one filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency, the cost might be shared between the road authority/private road owner and the railway.

NEED SUPPORT TO COVER YOUR COSTS TO COMPLY WITH THE REGULATIONS?

The Government of Canada has made funding available to help you.

The infrastructure, technology and research (ITR) component of the Rail Safety Improvement Program (RSIP) funds rail safety improvements that support measures to improve public safety at rail property and rail lines (both federally and provincially regulated).

Transport Canada is currently accepting applications for projects to start April 1, 2021. The deadline for applications is August 1, 2020 at 11:59pm (PDT).