Canada's Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt, has issued a Section 31 Notice and Order to VIA Rail to immediately address safety issues at six railway crossings in the Barrhaven community of Ottawa.
The order applies to the crossings located at Fallowfield, Woodroffe, the OC Transpo Transitway, Greenbank, Jockvale and Standherd. An order is issued to address an immediate threat to safety and restricts a railway company’s operations until certain terms and conditions are met.
Under the authority of the Railway Safety Act, the minister is taking key measures to protect the safety of pedestrians and motorists that use these railway grade crossings.
As a result of these measures VIA Rail must have flagmen on site around the clock at the six affected crossings to provide manual crossing protection for all freight and passenger trains and develop a long-term plan to manage safety at these railway crossings.
Transport Canada will have a railway safety inspector on-site to closely monitor the situation and verify compliance with the Railway Safety Act and related rules and regulations.
“The safety of Canadians is my top priority. That is why I am issuing this order to ensure that passenger and freight trains are crossing safely at our intersections. I am confident that VIA Rail will take swift action to resolve these issues,” said Raitt.
Temporary measures include the following:
• Trains will be operating at reduced speed at each of the six crossings. As a result, longer traffic stops and longer activation of automatic warning devices at these crossings can be expected. This temporary measure will also cause some train delays.
• In order to oversee this procedure, personnel will be stationed at these locations in order to provide supplementary support to automatic warning devices including ensuring that motorists and pedestrians stop at each crossing.
• In collaboration with the city of Ottawa, VIA Rail will consider the possibility of installing cameras at crossings in order to minimize technician response time.
• VIA Rail will ask the Ottawa Police to open an inquiry on recent incidents.
RT&S reported on safety at these crossings April 7.