Federal Government Launches Rail Safety Week with New Funding for Railway Crossing Improvements

OTTAWA- This year, Transport Canada will provide more than $9.2 million for improvements at railway crossings across the country through its Grade Crossing Improvement Program. Under this program, eligible railway crossings are upgraded based on factors such as traffic volume and accident history.

Larry Maguire, MP for Brandon-Souris said, "I am committed to further reducing rail-related injuries and fatalities across the country. A safe and secure national rail transportation system is important to local communities and to Canada's economic well-being. While Canada has one of the safest rail systems in the world, improvements can still be made."

Transport Canada finances up to 50% of the total eligible costs of grade crossing improvements (to a maximum of $550,000 per project), with the balance provided by the railways and road authorities.

Any road work or other work that will improve the safety of the crossing is generally considered eligible.

Some examples of eligible projects are:

  • The installation of flashing lights, bells and gates

  • The addition of "Prepare to Stop" signs with traffic signal interconnection

  • The addition of gates or extra lights to existing signal systems

  • The replacement of incandescent lights with LED's

  • The interconnection of crossing signals to nearby highway traffic signals

  • The modification of operating circuits within automated warning systems

  • The improvement of roadway alignment or grades

  • Construction of diversion roads

  • The modification of nearby intersections, including the addition of traffic control signals in some circumstances

Work beyond what is necessary to address the existing safety concerns at the crossing, such as construction to upgrade the standard of the road, is not eligible for a contribution.

Through the Grade Crossing Closure Program, funding is available to encourage the closure of certain grade crossings that are under federal jurisdiction. The program provides a $20,000 grant for a public grade crossing and a $5,000 grant for a private grade crossing in exchange for the beneficiary (generally a road authority or private property owner) relinquishing their rights to the crossing and closing it. In 2013-14, Transport Canada approved $100,000 in GCCP funding to close 11 crossings in the interest of public safety.

The Government of Canada also supports other initiatives to improve safety at railway crossings, such as Operation Lifesaver - a national public education program whose goal is to reduce the needless loss of life, injuries and damages caused by highway/railway crossing collisions and train/pedestrian incidents. Transport Canada provides Operation Lifesaver with $300,000 per year to support their safety outreach and education campaigns.

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