Part A – General

Appendix: Guideline for Bridge Safety Management with clarification comments on grey background

0.1 - Definitions

For the purposes of this guideline, the terms and definitions given in the Railway Safety Act and the Railway Safety Management System Regulations apply in addition to those given below:

bridge” means a “railway bridge” or an “overhead bridge” that the railway authority is responsible for with respect to inspection, evaluation, repairs, and the posting of load limits.

Bridge Safety Management Program (BSMP)” means part of an overall railway safety management system that facilitates the management of risks associated with bridges. This includes the railway corporate structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes, standards, drawings, and personnel resources for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing and maintaining the program.

cursory inspection- means an inspection made by a Railway Bridge Engineer, a Railway Bridge Inspector, or Qualified Person  to visually observe, from the track, an overhead bridge for which the railway authority does not have inspection and maintenance responsibilities, to determine if there are any obvious conditions that may threaten safe railway operations.

overhead bridge” means any structure carrying pedestrian, highway, or railway traffic that spans over all or a portion of the railway right of way.

professional engineer” means a person who is authorized under a Canadian Provincial or Territorial Engineering Act to engage in the practice of professional engineering.

railway authority” means the railway company responsible for the maintenance of a bridge.

railway bridge” means any structure with a deck, regardless of length, which supports one or more railway tracks, or any other under grade structure with an individual span length of 10 feet or more located at such a depth that it is affected by live loads.

railway company” means as defined in the Canadian Transportation Act.

railway right of way” means any land on which a line of railway is situated, including yard tracks, sidings, spurs and other track auxiliary to the line of railway.

safety evaluation” means the documented review conducted by a Railway Bridge Engineer of all relevant bridge inspections, evaluations, assessments, reports, information and circumstances relating to a bridge to ensure that it is safe for its intended use.

visual inspection” means a documented inspection made by a Railway Bridge Engineer or a Railway Bridge Inspector under the direction of a Railway Bridge Engineer to record any changes or repairs and identify defects which may have developed or deteriorated since the last inspection. It includes measuring specific defects, verifying the general conditions of the bridge and its surroundings in order to confirm its general safety.

Section Analysis 0.1 - Definitions

Unloading pits, track scales, and waterfront structures such as piers and wharves that fall within the definition of a "railway bridge" are considered bridges for purposes of this guideline.

0.2 - Scope

This Guideline has been developed to assist a railway company in formulating a BSMP that will conform to the following:

  • Railway Safety Act;
  • Guidelines – Engineering Work Relating to Railway Works (Section 11 – Railway Safety Act);
  • Railway Safety Management System Regulations (SMS); and
  • Track Safety Rules (TSR).

It is applicable to a railway company in order for it to:

  1. Establish a BSMP that identifies and mitigates, to the extent possible, hazards to users and other parties, who may be exposed to risks associated with bridges and related activities;
  2. Implement, maintain and continually improve a BSMP;
  3. Assure itself of compliance with relevant legal requirements; and
  4. Determine and assess compliance with all legislative requirements and internal practices, procedures and instructions relating to safe railway operations as it applies to bridges.

Section Analysis 0.2 – Scope

This guideline outlines the minimum expectations for the management of bridge safety. Railway companies can adopt more stringent requirements.

0.3 - Application

This Guideline applies to a railway company to which the Railway Safety Act applies.

0.4 - Responsibility

The railway authority is responsible for the condition of bridges over which it or other railway companies operate trains regardless of any agreements, division of ownership or maintenance expense. The railway authority shall1 ensure that the track is being adequately supported and shall2 be able to control, and restrict if necessary, the movement of trains on its segment of track, including the track on a bridge.

For overhead bridges that the railway authority is responsible for with respect to inspection, evaluation, repairs, and the posting of load limits, the railway authority shall3 ensure that the structure is adequate for its use or posted load limit and that safe railway operations are being maintained.

The railway authority is expected to carry out cursory inspections of overhead bridges for which it does not have inspection and maintenance responsibilities, document any obvious conditions that may threaten safe railway operations, notify the responsible authority of such conditions, and ensure corrective actions have been carried out.

If a railway authority, to which this part applies, assigns responsibility for the track and the bridge to another railway company, by lease or otherwise, written notification of the assignment should be provided to the appropriate TC Rail Safety regional office within 30 days following the assignment. The notification should be in writing and include the following:

  1. The name and address of the railway authority that is assigning responsibility;
  2. The name and address of the railway company to whom responsibility is assigned, (assignee);
  3. A statement of the exact relationship between the railway authority and the assignee; and
  4. A precise identification of the track segment and the individual bridges in the assignment.

Section Analysis 0.4 - Responsibility

TC can be notified of safety issues identified during a cursory inspection in order to help facilitate a resolution to the issue, in the event that one of the parties failed to recognize their responsibilities.

1 Track Safety Rules part I 6
2 Track Safety Rules part I 6
3 Section 11 of the Railway Safety Act

Previous Section:

Date modified: