Canadian Minister of Transport announces new measures to improve track conditions

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
image description
Transport Canada announces new track maintenance standards.
Canadian National

The Government of Canada is continuing to move ahead with concrete actions which improve railway track safety to better protect those living and working near Canada's rail corridors.

The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced that Transport Canada has approved a series of changes that will strengthen the Rules Respecting Track Safety. These rules are critically important to rail safety and rail companies must follow them when inspecting and maintaining their track.

Today’s changes – the final phase in a series of three – stem from a 2020 Ministerial Order that focused on major risks that could cause derailments due to the condition of railway infrastructure.

The changes require railway companies to:

  • develop key performance indicators to help Transport Canada analyze track conditions and inform the department’s oversight activities;
  • strengthen requirements for railways to inspect and maintain crossties; and
  • provide Transport Canada inspectors with access to additional information on company track standards so they can ensure that oversight is effective and consistent across Canada.

This latest series of changes to the rules builds on two previously announced revisions in May 2021 and December 2021 that focused on training and qualification of railway personnel who inspect tracks, track inspection frequency, and automated track inspection technology.

Transport Canada continues to work with the railway industry to make the railway system even safer for Canadians.

Quote

“Our Government is taking concrete action. These rule changes will enhance track safety by improving information sharing between railway companies and Transport Canada, as well as by strengthening the inspection and maintenance requirements for crossties. Improving rail safety continues to be one of my top priorities and we will continue to explore measures that can further improve safety.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick Facts

  • Changes to the Rules Respecting Track Safety are part of a broader strategy to strengthen rail safety in Canada, and directly respond to findings in the Auditor General’s February 2021 follow-up audit on rail safety.
  • Changes to the Rules Respecting Track Safety also complement previous Transport Canada safety requirements for railway companies to take actions to reduce the risks posed when operating during periods of extreme weather.
  • Rules and regulations have the same force of law, under the Railway Safety Act, and a railway company can be subject to monetary penalties or prosecution for non-compliance to a rule.
  • Transport Canada monitors railway companies for compliance with rules, regulations, and standards made under the Railway Safety Act through risk-based audits and safety inspections.

Associated Links

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to e-news or stay connected through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram to keep up to date on the latest from Transport Canada.

This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons living with visual disabilities.

SOURCE Transport Canada

For further information: Laurel Lennox, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, Ottawa, [email protected]; Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, 613-993-0055, [email protected].

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