Help the Government of Canada organize its website!

Complete an anonymous 5-minute questionnaire. Start now.

Canadian National Railway


Canadian National Railway
Regulatory Affairs
Canadian National
935 de la Gauchetière Street West
15th Floor
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
H3B 2M9
Facsimile: (514) 399-5532

April 24, 2012

Mr. Luc Bourdon
Director General Rail Safety
Transport Canada
14th Floor Enterprise Building
427 Laurier
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5

Re: CN Comments on Transport Canada Draft Proposed Grade Crossing Regulations (Policy) and Technical Standard (GRRGCS)

Dear Sir:

CN has reviewed the draft version of the proposed Railway-Roadway Grade Crossings Policy (Regulations) and the associated Canadian Railway-Roadway Grade Crossings Standards (CRRGCS) and wishes to make the following comments.

General Comments

1) Process

CN was surprised to receive the documentation from Transport Canada indicating that the Grade Crossing Regulations and Standard were being provided for a final review prior to moving to Gazette I.

As Transport Canada is well aware, the regulations and former RTD10 have been the subject of much detailed discussion over the past decade or more. Throughout these discussions, it was clear that, while there was general agreement over many parts of the regulation, there was significant non-consensus over other parts.

Comments were provided by parties such as CN on ways that the non-consensus items could be addressed. These seem to have been totally ignored in the preparation of the current proposal. Worse yet, a number of items for which the working group had reached consensus have now been changed and new items, for which there had been no working group review, have been added.

CN agrees that there is need for a regulation and standard to set commonly understood requirements for new crossings. We do not, however, agree that the current proposal, with its significant impact on all existing crossings, should be permitted to quickly move forward without full review of past comments, changes and new items so as to ensure that the final regulation and standard provides the desired safety improvements without imposing undue cost or operational impact on the railways.

2) Timeline

The suggested timeline for implementation of the various requirements of the regulation is unrealistic.

CN has some 17,400 level crossings on its Canadian network. For us to develop record and share the required location and technical data for each of these crossings within two years is unrealistic. This is even more so due to the fact that the data for private crossings, of which CN has some 8,400 will be the sole responsibility of the railway

Equally unrealistic are other cited deadlines for determination of sightline requirements and the upgrading of existing crossings to meet portions of the new standard.

CN asks that this work be reviewed for additional grandfathering and/or specified on a more realistic and manageable timeframe basis.

3) Financial and Operational Impact

Throughout the previous discussions on proposed crossing regulations, CN has constantly had concerns over the potential financial and operational impact that they hold.

A close review of the requirements of the proposed regulation and standard clearly show that the cost and operational impact to the railway will be significant, in fact, even greater than in previous versions of the proposed regulations.

Among the items having the largest potential impact are those associated with sightlines and the upgrading of crossings to the new standards.

Although CN recognizes the need for imposing these higher standards on all new crossings (as in proposed Section 15) or where significant changes are being made (as in proposed Section 16), CN suggests that the automatic requirement to document, communicate and ensure the sightline requirements at all existing crossings puts the railway in a position of significant financial impact and liability. Although the railway is already doing what it can to provide sightlines through the clearing of brush affecting sightlines on railway land and through the installation of stop signs, there are many locations where curves, rock cuts, or objects on private land limit the available sightlines.

Under the proposed regulation, each of these would need to be equipped with a warning system or have train speed reduced within 5 years (or 7 years in the case of private crossings).

The workload and cost associated with the installation of this number of warning systems will be significant. Current Transport Canada funding program levels would not come close to handling the demand for additional funding. Furthermore, the amount to be funded by Transport Canada is being reduced from 80% to 50% of the project cost increasing the financial burden on the railway In addition, many such locations will be on restricted private crossings which are likely not eligible for federal funding. In preliminary meetings with Transport Canada, it was even suggested by representatives of TC that they would not fund upgrades required to bring crossings into compliance with a standard.

The alternative of reducing train speed will have a significant impact on the railway’s ability to serve its customers and, by extension, on the Canadian economy. Among the hardest hit will be passenger trains, which will significantly affect VIA Rail train service.

Similar manpower and economic issues are associated with the need to upgrade existing crossing warning systems within 5 years.

This significant cost and operational impact is being placed on the railways at the same time that crossing safety continues to show significant improvements. Crossing accidents have been reduced by 54%, fatalities by 46% and serious injuries by 70% since 1996. Even in the six years, this improvement is evident. Since 2005, there has been a 37% reduction in accidents, 32% in fatalities and 60% in serious injuries. As such, CN questions whether these impacts can be justified.

CN suggests that a plan be developed outside of the regulations to allow existing crossings to be brought into compliance over time without having to adversely impact railway operations or place the railways in a position of liability. Those for which safety issues are determined through the items identified in section 25 will, of course, be elevated for priority upgrading. CN also suggests that alternative measures such as mirrors and whistles be accepted as interim measures of providing adequate warning.

4) Responsible Authority for Private Crossings

In the current proposed version of the regulations, Transport Canada has made some significant changes to the responsible authorities. These change run contrary to the definition of responsible authorities that had been previous agreed upon by the working group.

The most significant change is that the railway is now the sole responsible authority for private crossings. This places a significant workload and liability burden on the railway at such locations, of which CN has some 8,400 across its Canadian network

For instance, under the proposed regulation the railway will be solely responsible for providing all information pertaining to private crossings. This includes many items that the railway has no knowledge of, such as number and type of vehicles using the crossings.

CN requests that private crossings be treated in the same manner as public crossings with respect to responsibility for information.

Specific Comments

In addition to the general comments stated above, CN wishes to make the following comments on specific sections of the Policy/Regulation and Standard.

A. Policy/Regulation

1) Section 1- definition of “beneficiary”
CN suggests that this definition be reworded as “… for which a private grade crossing is provided.” This is required to address the fact that it may be the CTA and not the railway that legally “provides” the crossing to a party.

2) Section 1 – definition of “crossing surface”
CN seeks clarification on the meaning of the definition’s reference to “including the elevation of the railway tracks in relation to the road”. CN notes that this definition has changed from that which had been previously agreed upon by the working group and seeks clarification as to why this was done. Furthermore, it is CN’s position that “crossing surface” should, in fact, be limited to the end of the ties. CN notes that this is the definition in General Order E-4 and asks why it is not being retained.

On example of the basis for our concern is that CN’s standard agreements for grade crossings, which have been filed with the CTA and are considered to be Orders of the Agency, use the E-4 definition of crossing surface when setting out the responsibilities of the parties. It is unclear as to the legal status of these Orders should the regulations impose conflicting requirements.

3) Section 1 – definition of “grade crossing”
This definition uses the term “road crossing” which is undefined. CN suggests that the definition be revised to read “means a public or private road crossing…

4) Section 1 – definition of “maximum road operation speed”
This definition uses the term “safe stopping sight distance” which is undefined in the regulation itself.

5) Section 1 – definition of “private road”
This definition refers to “… means a road that is not a public road”. This would suggest that driveways, field to field connections and paths would not be considered as private roads. This does not seem to make sense.

6) Section 1 – definition of “private road”
CN seeks confirmation as to the intended handling of railway crossings involving roads on reserves under the Indian Act. Based on CN’s initial review of the draft regulation, it appeared that all such crossings would be considered as private crossings. It is now our understanding from preliminary meetings with Transport Canada that this was not the intended classification.

To avoid unnecessary confusion, CN asks that the wording be revised to make it clear that crossings on reserve land are to be classified in the exact same manner as those on non-reserve land. To do otherwise would create safety concerns as well as an unjustifiable increase in workload and impact on the part of the railway. Such crossings would not be subject to safety elements such as train whistling.

Furthermore, by designating such crossings as private crossings, the railway would end up responsible for determining crossing usage data that would be the requirement of the road authority in the case of any other crossing. In such cases, the crossing should be considered a public crossing and the band should be given the same responsibilities as a road authority.

7) Section 1 – definition of “public road”
Subpart (b) of this definition indicates that roads “for general use” on reserve land will be considered as public roads. This appears to be inconsistent with the handling of roads serving hospitals, casinos, stores and schools in the definition of “private road”.

8) Section 1 – definition of “railway company”
It is unclear as to what is meant by “that operates a line of railway”. CN asks for clarification on this.

9) Section 1 – definition of “responsible authority”
Subpart (b) of this definition indicates that the railway is the responsible authority for all private crossings. This significantly changes the working group’s previously agreed upon handling of such situations and places an onerous administrative and financial burden on the railways. Many of the requirements of the responsible authority are much easier handled by the private crossing owner. CN requests clarification on why this change was made and asks that it revert back to the previously agreed upon definition. If not changed, the significant costs imposed on the railway will need to be assessed under the RIAS.

10) Section 1 – definition of “road approach”
The proposed definition indicates that the road approach would be that portion of the road “that affects the safety at a grade crossing”. CN is of the opinion that this definition is too vague and seeks clarification on its intended meaning.

11) Section 1 – definition of “CRRGCS”
This definition refers to the version of January 11, 2007. This is not the version that was provided for review. CN seeks clarification on the correct version that is to be referenced.

12) Section 1 – definition of “unrestricted grade crossing”
This definition states “means a public or private grade crossing whose road is one of the following …”. As written, the definition would seem to indicate that not all public crossings are to be considered as unrestricted. To clarify that they are automatically unrestricted, it is suggested that the wording be revised to read “means a public grade crossing, or a private grade crossing whose road is one of the following…

13) Section 3
This section of the draft regulation indicates that responsible parties must “meet or exceed” the requirements of the Policy. CN is of the opinion that a regulation cannot indicate that a party must “exceed” the requirements and asks that this be removed. It is noted that the previous version of the regulation used the wording that was much more appropriate; “shall manage the safety of its grade crossings in accordance with these Regulations”. CN asks why this agreed upon wording was not retained.

14) Section 4(1)
This section of the draft regulation indicates that a party who determines that a threat to safe railway operations exists, must notify all other responsible parties. This imposes an unnecessary administrative burden on the responsible party. Unless actions are required on the part of the other parties, there should be no reason to have to inform them. Certainly in the case of where a problem is noted and immediately corrected, there should be no reason to have to contact what could be several other parties. The decision as to whether other parties need to be informed should be left to the responsible party who identifies the threat. Furthermore, it is unclear as to what is expected to occur at private crossings where the railway is the only responsible authority.

15) Section 4(2)
This section of the draft policy indicates that a party that is informed by another party of a threat to safe railway operations “must take measures to ensure safe rail and road operations”. It is unclear as to what is expected to happen should the party investigate and not come to the same conclusion, for instance in the case of a road authority requesting separate pedestrian gates. CN suggests that this section of the regulation places the parties in a position of significant and totally unnecessary potential liability and ask that it be removed.

16) Sections 5 and 6
It is noted that the proposed distribution of responsibilities among the railway, road authority and/or private crossing owner are very different than those previously specified in draft versions of the Grade Crossing Regulations. CN had adopted the previous requirements for inclusion in its standard agreements for new or reconstructed crossings. These have been filed with the CTA and are considered to be Orders of the Agency.

As such, unless there is a compelling reason for the change from previous agreed upon versions, CN asks that the wording revert back to that which had been proposed and has been incorporated into standard agreements.

It is unclear as to the legal status of these Orders should the regulations impose conflicting requirements. CN seeks clarification as to which would prevail and be considered the law.

17) Section 5(1)
Subpart (a)(ii) indicates that the railway is responsible for drainage along the right-of-way. This should be further clarified to indicate that the responsibility does not apply to pipes or culverts under the roadway. The road authority must be made responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of such. Similar clarification should be added to 5(2)(a)(ii) and to similar requirements pertaining to private crossings.

18) Section 5(1)
Subpart (c) of this section of the draft regulation indicates that the railway is responsible for the removal of snow from the crossing surface. This is a complete reversal of the handling of such situations that had been previously agreed upon by the working group. The WG recognized that the road authorities were much better position and suited for this task. CN asks for explanation as to why an agreed upon position has been changed.

To expect a railway to go out and remove the snow from its network of crossings during any snow storm is unreasonable, unattainable and will impose a significant cost and liability on the part of the railway. The railway is willing to accept responsibility for safe movement of trains but cannot be asked to accept this for the movement of road vehicles. This item must be changed back to the previous agreed upon wording.

19) Section 5(2)(c)
CN asks that subpart (c) be revised to add that road authorities also ensure that plowed snow not interfere with the operation of automatic warning devices. CN’s experience is that this has become a safety issue from time to time.

20) Section 5(2)
CN notes that the current version of the regulation removes the previously agreed upon requirement for road authorities to be responsible for the installation of overhead lighting in certain situations at crossings. CN asks why this requirement, which would have had clear safety benefit, was removed. CN also asks what reduction in benefit will be associated with this in the revised RIAS.

21) Section 5(3)
The proposed draft regulation removes the previously agreed upon requirement that road authorities be responsible for notifying land owners that the sightline limits extend over their land. The working group had agreed on this requirement in recognition of the fact that road authorities (particularly in the case of municipalities) would have much better information on the identity of the specific land owners involved. CN seeks an explanation as to why this change was made and asks that the regulation revert back to this wording.

22) Section 6(1)
Subpart (a) of this section of the draft regulation indicates that the railway is responsible for construction and maintenance of all aspects of the crossing including the approach up to the point of safe stopping distance. This extends the railway responsibility well beyond the right of way limits in many situations and places a significant financial and liability burden on the railway pertaining to land for which it does not have the legal right to occupy.

Railways such as CN cannot trespass on private land outside the right of way. CN asks that the railway responsibility be limited to the limits of the right of way, particularly as it pertains to roadway maintenance. If not changed, significant costs will need to be added to the RIAS. Similar changes must be made to 6(2)(a).

23) Section 6(1)(c)
Subpart (c) of this section of the draft regulation makes reference to subsection 9(1) of the regulation. This subsection does not exist. The railways need to know the correct reference to fully understand the proposed responsibilities placed on them.

Subsection (c) also refers to 10(1). This suggests that railways are now responsible for notifying all landowners where sightline requirements extend over their land. This is a change from the previously agreed upon position of the working group that the private crossing owner would have such responsibility. This change places significant additional administrative burden on the railways for an activity for which the crossing owner is much better suited. CN asks that this responsibility revert back to the private crossing owner. If left as the responsibility of the railway, significant cost will need to be added to the RIAS.

24) Section 6(1)(e)
Subpart (e) of this section indicates that the railway is responsible for the removal of snow from the crossing surface. This is a complete reversal of the handling of such situations that had been previously agreed upon by the working group. The WG recognized that private crossing owners were much better positioned and suited for this task as they already would be plowing the remainder of their private road. CN asks for explanation as to why an agreed upon position has been changed.

To expect a railway to go out and remove the snow from its network of crossings during any snow storm is unreasonable, unattainable and will impose a significant cost on the part of the railway. The railway is willing to accept responsibility for safe movement of trains but cannot be asked to accept this for the movement of road vehicles. This item must be changed back to the previous agreed upon wording.

25) Section 6(2)(c)
CN asks that subpart (c) be revised to add that beneficiaries also ensure that plowed snow not interfere with the operation of automatic warning devices, where such exists at a private crossing.

26) Section 6(2)
CN notes that the proposed wording is unclear as to the responsibility for the installation and maintenance of stop signs and crossing signs at private crossings. CN asks that this be clarified in the regulation.

27) Section 7
This section of the draft regulation removes the previously agreed upon requirement that the information must be developed if not available. CN asks why this was removed and seeks clarification as to what is required if the information is unavailable or unknown. This will become a significant issue affecting the railway’s ability to get the required information pertaining to private crossings.

28) Section 8(1)
CN is of the opinion that the two years provided to determine, record and share specific information pertaining to all existing crossings is unrealistic for railways such as CN to comply with. CN has some 17,400 crossings on its Canadian network. For us to develop, record and share this information on each crossing within two years would require the addition of significant manpower that cannot be justified. CN asks that this requirement be extended to 5 years for public crossings and 7 years for private crossings.

29) Section 8(1)
CN’s review of the proposed regulations notes that the cost of the regulations will depend in large part on the system that TC envisions for recording of the data elements. CN requests confirmation of TC’s expectation in this regard.

30) Section 8(1)
CN’s comments on the specific data elements contained in Appendix D can be found in the comments on the Appendices in the Standard.

31) Section 8(2)
This section of the draft regulation refers to the need to “update and share” information after various events. It is unclear as to what is meant by “share”. In addition, with respect to activities such as line transfers, there could be upwards of 100 crossings involved. In such cases, it is unclear as to who is required to update the records and what is involved. CN seeks clarification on this as it may result in significant costs that need to be captured in the RIAS.

32) Section 8(2)(f)
This subsection refers to railway lines being “abandoned”. CN suggests that the term “discontinued” be used so as to be consistent with CTA terminology for such events.

33) Section 9
The proposed regulation removes the previously agreed upon requirement that road authorities be responsible for notifying land owners that the sightline limits extend over their land. The working group had agreed on this requirement in recognition of the fact that road authorities (particularly in the case of municipalities) would have much better information on the identities of the specific land owners involved. CN seeks an explanation as to why this change was made and asks that the regulation revert back to this wording. If not changed, this will impose a significant additional cost and administrative burden on the railway that must be reflected in the RIAS.

34) Section 10(1)
It is unclear as to why this section of the proposed regulation refers to “person or landowner” when the trigger requirement in Section 9 refers only to landowners. CN suggests that the two should be consistent.

35) Section 10(4)
CN questions how this subsection will be enforced. What powers will Transport Canada or other parties have should an obstruction be constructed prior to notification of safety measures being in place. It is important that we understand this so as to fully assess the potential cost and operational impact of the proposed regulation.

36) Section 11(1)
The requirement to notify all private crossing owners in the case of a temporary or permanent lack of demand over a railway line will result in a significant administrative burden on the part of the railway. CN requests that this requirement only be required for unrestricted crossings. If not limited in this manner, the additional costs should be reflected in the RIAS.

37) Section 11(4)
CN suggests that the road authority should also be required to remove all signage pertaining to the crossing in such occurrences.

38) Section 12
Previous versions of the draft regulations included provisions to allow for rail pickup operations as long as such were manually protected at crossings. It is unclear as to why this ability was removed from the current draft. CN asks that such relief be reinstated or associatedt costs be added to the RIAS to reflect the change.

39) Section 12(3)(c)
This subsection of the draft regulation requires that notification be provided 30 days prior to the resumption of operation of trains. This may not be attainable due to the railway’s level of service obligations. CN asks that additional relief be provided to address such situations.

40) Section 12(3)(d)
CN questions the value of requiring a sign to be posted when there is a resumption of operation of trains. This will add additional cost on the part of the railway with little if any benefit and must be accounted for in the RIAS.

41) Section 12(4)
This requirement seems to make no sense for restricted crossings where there are no traffic control devices or pavement markings. As such, CN suggests that it be limited to unrestricted crossings with control devices or removed.

42) Sections 14 – 21
In each of the sections from 14 to 21, the requirement to carry out an adequate warning assessment falls solely on the part of the railway. This is an inequitable assignment of responsibility that will result in significant workload and cost to the railway. This requirement should be assigned to the party making the change or the costs and workload must be added to the RIAS.

43) Section 14
The proposed requirement that all crossings have sightline requirements assessed, documented and communicated within three years is unrealistic. CN has some 17,400 crossings on its Canadian network. For us to assess, document and communicate this information on each crossing within three years would require the addition of significant manpower. CN asks that this requirement be extended to 5 years for unrestricted crossings and 7 years for restricted crossings.

44) Section 14
Although CN recognizes the need to ensure required sightlines for new crossings (as in proposed Section 15) or where significant changes are being made (as in proposed Section 16), CN suggests that the proposed automatic requirement to document and communicate sightline requirements at all existing crossings puts the railway in a position of significant liability. Requirements should only need to be communicated if other parties are required to take specific measures.

CN further suggests that a plan be developed outside of the regulations to allow existing crossings to be brought into compliance over time without having to adversely impact railway operations or place the railways in a position of liability. CN also suggests that alternative measures such as mirrors and whistles be accepted as interim measures of providing adequate warning.

45) Section 16(1)(e)
CN suggests that this item be reworded to clarify that it applies to new obstructions or “further” obstructions and not existing obstructions of sightlines.

46) Section 17
Subsections (1) and (2) of this section of the proposed regulation refer to a “beneficiary that is not a responsible authority”. It is unclear as to what is intended by this wording as the definitions for responsible authority suggest that beneficiaries are never considered to be responsible authorities.

47) Section 18
The proposed wording of this section suggests that it is the railways’ responsibility to assess the conditions associated with applications for cessation of whistling. This places an unfair burden on the railway. CN and other railways have defined processes in place whereby the applicant (the municipality) must arrange for an assessment to be carried out by a qualified person at their expense. This process must be permitted to be retained under the new regulations. Otherwise this will result in significant cost to the railways that must be accounted for in the RIAS.

48) Section 19(1)
It is unclear as to why the railway is responsible for assessing the sightline requirements in the case of the road authority wishing to reopen a road. This should be the responsibility of the party making the change. Otherwise this adds unreasonable workload and cost to the railways that must be accounted for in the RIAS.

49) Section 21
It is unclear as to what is meant by “reviewing safety issues”. This needs to be clarified.

Furthermore, the requirement to conduct such assessments where a warning system with gates is in place would seem to be an unnecessary expense that should be removed from the regulation.

50) Section 25(d)
The requirement to carry out a crossing safety review after each crossing accident is excessive and will impose a significant workload and cost on the part of the railway. In many cases, it is clear as to what took place and a review should not be required. Automatic reviews should be limited to locations where there is a recurrent pattern of accidents. Otherwise the significant cost of this requirement must be added to the regulation.

51) Section 27
This section of the proposed regulation increases the retention period of safety reviews from the previously agreed upon period of 5 years to the new period of 10 years or even longer, if an additional review is not required in the 10 year period. CN asks why this requirement has changed and notes that the requirement to retain for significant periods of time may not be possible as systems change.

52) Sections 29(3) and 29(4)
The requirement that existing crossings be upgraded to the new standards within five years for public and seven years for private crossings may not be attainable in all cases. CN has some 17,400 crossings and meeting these targets will result in significant manpower and financial resources. CN suggests that the upgraded requirements apply only to new crossings (as in Section 31) or where there are significant changes (as in Sections 32 - 34) and that all other existing crossings be grandfathered unless safety issues are identified through a safety review under Section 25. Otherwise the significant costs associated with automatic upgrade requirements must be reflected in the RIAS.

Of particular concern is the requirement to ensure sightlines at all existing crossings within this timeframe. This requirement will have significant financial and operational impact on the railways Although CN is already doing what it can to provide sightlines through the clearing of brush affecting sightlines on railway land and through the installation of stop signs, there are many locations where curves, rock cuts, or objects on private land limit the available sightlines. Under the proposed regulation, each of these would need to be equipped with a warning system or have train speed reduced within 5 years (or 7 years in the case of private crossings).

The workload and cost associated with the installation of this number of warning systems will be significant. Current Transport Canada funding program levels would not come close to handling the demand for additional funding. Furthermore, the amount to be funded by Transport Canada is being reduced from 80% to 50% of the project cost increasing the financial burden on the railways. In addition, many such locations will be on restricted private crossings which are likely not eligible for federal funding. The alternative of reducing train speed will have a significant impact on the railway’s ability to service its customers and, as such, on the Canadian economy. Among the hardest hit will be passenger trains, which will significantly affect VIA Rail train service.

Similar manpower and economic issues are associated with the need to upgrade existing crossing warning systems at public crossings within five years. Specific issues of concern to CN include the need for potentially costly automatic upgrades in accordance with the requirements of Sections 13, 14.2, 19.10, and 19.12 of the Standard. Although we understand the need to meet these standards for new installations or where significant changes are made, when considering that CN has some 3600 crossing with warning systems, the need for automatic upgrades within five years will be extremely costly and difficult to achieve with current manpower resources.

CN suggests that a plan be developed outside of the regulations to allow existing crossings to be brought into compliance over time without having to adversely impact railway operations or place the railways in a position of liability. Those for which safety issues are determined through the items identified in section 25 will, of course, be elevated for priority upgrading. CN also suggests that alternative measures such as mirrors and whistles be accepted as interim measures of providing adequate warning.

53) Section 31
It is unclear as to what is meant by “peak forecast cross product”. This needs to be clarified to be properly applied. This term is also used in sections 32, 33 and 36.

54) Section 32(1)
This section of the proposed regulation refers to “changes set out in Section 11”. It is unclear as to what this is meant to convey as there are no changes mentioned in Section 11 of the regulation.

55) Section 35(d)
CN suggests that this subsection be revised to read “there is no recurrent unauthorized access to the line of railway in the area or in its vicinity”. This will help retain the benefit of the whistle in cases of nearby trespassing.

56) Section 36(3)
This section of the proposed regulation also refers to “changes set out in Section 11”. Again it is unclear as to what this is meant to convey as there are no changes mentioned in Section 11 of the regulation.

57) Section 38(1)(a)
This subsection of the proposed regulation repeats the current requirements of the CROR with respect to occupancy of crossings. CN is surprised that Transport Canada has included this item in the proposed regulation as Transport Canada and the industry have run into problems with situations in the past where multiple regulations attempt to address the same issue. CN suggests that we avoid creating another problem with the addition of this item. This is particularly so when dealing with a regulation which is, by nature, more cumbersome than a rule to revise.

In discussions with Transport Canada it was suggested that, in that these items deal with 3rd parties , they are more suited for regulation than rule. CN does not agree with this position. The responsibility for compliance with this item is solely that of the railway and the impact to third parties is entirely associated with the affect of non-compliance (as it would be in the case of derailments due to non-compliance with other rules). As such, CN is of the opinion that this is much better handled as part of a rule and, as such, should remain in the CROR and be removed from the proposed regulation.

58) Section 38(1)(b)
This subsection adds a new requirement above and beyond the requirements of the CROR that will be impossible for railways to comply with given modern day train lengths and speed limits associated with turnouts and TC mandated items such as 5 mph pullby inspections. Furthermore, it is unclear as to what actions are to be taken in the event that a train moving over a crossing develops a problem and cannot clear within 10 minutes.

This proposed requirement will add significant operational restrictions including potential reductions in train length which would put Canadian railways at a major competitive disadvantage to US railways and trucking. As such, CN strongly requests that this be removed and replaced by the more attainable items required under the CROR.

59) Section 38(1)(c)
This subsection is another example of an item that is already addressed in the CROR. It serves no purpose and could create unnecessary conflict if added to a second regulation. As such, CN is of the opinion that this is much better handled as part of a rule and should remain in the CROR and be removed from the proposed regulation. In any event, if retained in either the regulation or CROR, it should be revised so as to only apply to situations were there is the potential for oncoming rail traffic.

60) Section 38(1)(d) and (e)
It is unclear as to the intended difference between these two items. CN seeks clarification on this.

In any event, CN also notes that the strict application of this proposed requirement will add significant operational constraints to the railway if applied to regular train operations. CN asks that it be limited to situations in which equipment is being left in long term storage.

CN also notes that the reference to “interfere with sightlines” does not seem to properly accommodate the potential presence of a crossing warning system or the ability to have the crossing manually protected.

61) Section 38(2)
This item is already addressed in the CROR and, as such, should not be added to a second regulation so as to avoid the potential for future conflict.

62) Section 45
It is unclear as to why the road authority is not required to provide copies of their instructions to the Minister whereas the railway is required to provide such. CN asks that a consistent approach be applied to both parties

63) Section 47
Although CN recognizes the need for this level of control to be established at public crossings, it is our opinion that this creates unnecessary costs and complications at private crossings. In such instances, CN simply suggests that wording similar to that in Section 48 (i.e. “a sufficient number of persons …”) be used.

64) Section 51(2)
The presence of a “and” at the end of subpart (a) of this item suggests that there is a (b) subpart that is missing.

65) Section 52(1)
CN notes that this section has significantly changed from that which the working group had previously agreed upon. CN asks why this change was made. CN also notes that the new proposed wording attempts to address both situations where warning systems fail to activate and those in which the warning system activates unnecessarily. These are very different scenarios and should be treated separately as was the case with the previous agreed upon wording.

In reviewing the previous and the new proposed wording, CN is of the opinion that the previous wording much better addressed false activation situations and asks that the previous wording be reintroduced for such situations.

CN also notes that the required response to reports of warning system not activating is already covered in the CROR. As such, CN suggests that this not be repeated in a second regulatory instrument.

66) Section 52(1)(b)
The stated requirement that simultaneous movements be “immediately prevented” is unattainable and should be reworded to something along the lines of “as soon as possible”. It is noted that this type of wording was used in the version previously agreed upon by the working group. CN asks why this change was made.

67) Section 53(1)
In the event of failure of either traffic signal preemption or a prepare to stop sign, CN suggests that a subpart (c) be added to the proposed wording requiring that the road authority ensure that a sufficient number of persons are stationed at the crossing to advise crossing users.

68) Section 53(2)
As mentioned above, in the case of reported failure of traffic signal preemption, CN feels that the road authority is in the best position to respond with the appropriate number of persons required to direct traffic. As such, subpart (b) should be removed and added to 52(1)

69) Section 53(2)(a)
It is impossible for the railway to ensure that there will be no simultaneous movement of rail and road traffic. Crossing accidents occur even when warning systems are operating as intended. As such, this item is unattainable and places the railway in a position of unnecessary liability. CN asks that it be removed from the proposed regulation.

70) Section 54
CN notes that this section of the proposed regulaiton has changed from that which the working group had previously agreed upon. CN asks why this change was made.

CN believes that the previous wording provided stronger protection for safety in that it required more than just “notify”. The previous wording required that the person in charge of the work “give sufficient notice and consult”. CN suggests that the previous wording be retained.

CN also notes that the requirement under 54(3) that a sufficient number of persons be stationed at the crossing to control traffic, is a perfect example of why consultation is required as opposed to simply notification. CN questions how else would the parties be able to determine what constitutes a sufficient number.

B. Standard (CRRGCS)

1) Section 1.3
CN notes that several of the incorporated standards include the statement “as amended from time to time”. CN is of the opinion that this creates a situation where a standard totally outside of the railway or Transport Canada’s control can change without our knowledge. CN suggests that a separate review process be used to update standards within the CRRGCS instead of the proposed wording.

2) Section 1.3
CN notes that one of the standards listed in this section of the CRRGCS is the “Guide for the Design of Roadway Lighting”. This standard is not referenced in the remainder of the document.

3) Section 3.1 (note: this is incorrectly shown as 2.1 in the draft Standard)
CN is of the opinion that the strict dependence on sightlines or a warning system to provide “adequate warning” is insufficient and will result in significant operational impact and cost to the railways. CN believes that this could, if fact, prove to be extremely detrimental to the Canadian economy and to passenger service.

CN asks that other alternatives such as whistling and mirrors be included, at least as interim measures (also see comment 52 under the Regulation)

4) Section 4.1.1
This section indicates that crossings for pedestrians, cyclists and persons using assistive devices should be designed to reflect the abilities and characteristics of the devices. As worded, this is a meaningless item in terms of proving guidance in that it is impossible for those designing the crossing to know the devices or their abilities. As such it produces potential liability without providing any specific value. To the extent that specific requirements are known, they should be reflected in the design requirements. Otherwise this item should be removed from the standard.

5) Table 4-8
Note 2 under this table indicates the need to refer to section 4.9 for certain information. It would appear that sections 4.4 and 4.7 should also be referenced.

6) Section 5.1
The ability to construct an intersecting road or entranceway within 30m of the track if train speed is 15 mph or less will put increased pressure on the railway to slow down its operations so as to accommodate new road or commercial construction. This will place an unfair burden on the railway. CN suggests that the construction of such should not be permitted under any circumstance.

7) Section 6.2
The proposed requirement to reduce the maximum allowable flangeway width from 120 mm to 100 mm (or 75 mm in the case of crossings for persons using an assistive device) will be very difficult and expensive for railways to maintain. CN asks that the benefit associated with such be weighed against these increased costs to ensure that there is a justifiable need for this requirement. If not justified, it should be removed.

8) Section 6.2
The proposed tolerance of +13 mm to -7 mm for rail height on routes identified for pedestrians, cyclists or persons using assistive devices will be extremely difficult and costly to maintain. CN notes that the reduced tolerances were previously applicable only to assistive devices and questions why this has now been greatly expanded to include crossings used by bicycles and pedestrians, both of which have very different risk profiles. CN asks that the benefit associated with this requirement be weighed against these increased costs to ensure that there is a justifiable need for this requirement. If not justified, it should be removed.

9) Section 8.2
As previously noted, the ability to provide sightlines at all existing crossings will be extremely difficult and expensive to achieve. As such, to the extent possible the regulation and standard must provide as much flexibility as possible. One such example is the stated requirement that sightlines be measured to a point 1.2 m above the top of rail. CN believes that this is overly restrictive and should be expanded such that any part of an approaching train can be seen.

10) Section 8.4
CN strongly disagrees with the added requirement to provide sightlines where a crossing warning system exists. The benefits of this proposed requirement must be weighed against the significant potential costs to confirm that it is justified.

11) Section 8.4(b)
This subsection contains a double negative. The word “cannot” should be replace by “can “ or “should”.

In addition, CN notes that the requirement that equipment housings not be located within the sightline zone is not always possible. This is addressed in the relief provided by section 18.2 of the standard and should be referenced in this section as well.

12) Table 8-1
The requirement to determine the Tssd or Tstopped based on the attributes of the design vehicle will add a significant burden and cost on the railway, particularly in the case of private crossings where the railway is the only responsible authority.

Even in the case of public crossings, it is unclear as to whether the “departure time” provided by the road authority under Appendix D-2 is the same as Tssd/Tstopped required in the Table. CN strongly suggests that a simpler method be used to determine the required sightlines. Otherwise the significant cost of this determination will need to be reflected in the RIAS.

13) Section 8.6(a)(iv)
It is unclear as to the intended extent of the term “any other thing” used in this subsection. As written, it could include fog, snow, passing or stopped trains, etc. Clarification on this is required.

14) Figure 8-2
CN strongly disagrees with the added requirement to provide sightlines where a crossing warning system exists. The benefits of this proposed requirement must be weighed against the significant potential costs to confirm that it is justified.

In addition, the text in this Figure referring to communication signal housings within the sightline limits should reference the relief provided under section 18.2 of the Standard.

Also as previously noted, the ability to provide sightlines at all existing crossings will be extremely difficult and expensive to achieve. As such, to the extent possible the regulation and standard must provide flexibility. CN is of the opinion that one possibility in this regard is to provide some flexibility in the positioning of stop lines to allow vehicle to see around obstacles such as signal housings.

15) Section 9.1.4
The proposed requirement that the TC crossing identification number be added to the back of one sign at all unrestricted crossings is a new requirement that will add significant cost to the railway for limited if any benefit. CN already displays the subdivision name and mileage on all such crossings which is much more meaningful to our employees and our response personnel.
CN asks that the benefit associated with this new requirement be weighed against these increased costs to ensure that there is a justifiable need for this requirement. If not justified, it should be removed. Note: Similar comment applies to Note 5 in figure 9-1.

16) Figure 9-1
CN notes that the reflectivity standard cited in Note 2 has changed from that referenced in previous versions of the Standard and requests information from TC on the difference between the standards so that we can fully assess the cost impact.

CN also notes that the name of the sign in Note 6 is different than that in the actual figure. The two references should be consistent.

17) Figure 9-2
CN notes that the reflectivity standard cited in Note 3 of this figure has changed from that referenced in previous versions of the standard and requests information from TC on the difference between the standards so that we can fully assess the cost impact.

18) Figure 9-3
CN notes that the distance from the stop point to the rail is now shown as an absolute 3m. This differs from the current General Order E-4 which specifies a maximum of 5m.
This proposed change will add significant cost to the railway for questionable benefit. It will also eliminate the flexibility needed to find creative solutions. CN asks that the benefit associated with this requirement be weighed against these increased costs to ensure that there is a justifiable need for this requirement. If not justified, it should be removed.

19) Section 9.8(b)
This proposed subsection indicates that stop signs should be placed on the same post as the railway crossing sign. It is unclear as to where a stop sign should be placed at restricted crossings which would not have a railway crossing sign. This should be specified in the standard.

20) Section 9.10
This section contains a new requirement that imposes a solution and its associated cost on railways. This is contrary to the objectives of the Railway Safety Act where railways are expected to develop their own procedures and programs. Although the required process to use the signs is not specified, the most likely process would create significant additional workload for RTCs which could easily lead to other potential safety issues. Furthermore, the suggested signs would seem to provide no benefit for situations were a train’s tail end is towards the crossing.

In addition, the presence of new signage beside a track in a siding increases the safety risk of employees getting off or on trains, particularly at night. CN asks that Transport Canada carry out a risk assessment to assess the affects of this workload and the presence of the mandated signs on safety. If not justified, CN asks that this prescriptive requirement be removed.

21) Section 9.10
CN also suggests that any requirement to address equipment standing within sightline limits should only apply to equipment being stored for extended periods. Any attempt to apply this to trains stopped due to regular operations (such as at meets) will unduly impact the railway’s operations and potentially impose additional workload on RTCs and other employees that could easily result in other safety issues.

22) Sections 9.11 – 9.18
These sections of the proposed standard introduce a new sign that had never been part of previous versions of the crossing regulations and standards. The cited sign will impose a significant cost to CN with limited, if any benefit.

CN already displays subdivision name and mileage on all such crossings which is much more meaningful to our employees and our response personnel. CN asks that the benefit associated with this requirement be weighed against these increase costs to ensure that there is a justifiable need for this requirement. If not justified, it should be removed

Notwithstanding the above comments, if the requirement for emergency notification signage is retained in any format, CN asks that the phone number shown in the standard not be that of CN so as to avoid unnecessary phone calls to our control centre.

23) Section 9.17
The minimum dimensions of the Emergency Notification Sign stated in Figure 9-6 would seem to be inconsistent with the requirement under 9.17 that signs only be large enough to provide the necessary information. CN seeks guidance as to what the allowable dimensions would be if mounted on railway crossing signs or signal masts.

24) Section 9.18
This section refers to the requirements for Emergency Notification signage at “station crossings”. It is unclear as to what is meant by a station crossing. CN suggests that this be defined.

25) Section 11.1(a)
CN is of the opinion that the suggested cross-product warrant of 1,000 for the installation of a warning system is much too low and will result in a significant number of warning systems on lightly travelled roads. CN recommends that a value of 3,000 be used.

26) Section 11.1(d) and (f)
CN is of the opinion that the stated relief to be provided when train speed is 15 mph or less will put increased pressure on the railway to slow down its operations so as to accommodate these situations. This puts the railway in an unfair situation. CN suggests that these be considered warrants for the installation of a warning system regardless of speed. It is noted that previous versions of RTD10 did not have a speed component for the two or more track scenario.

27) Section 11.1(g)
CN fails to understand how the installation of a warning system will help address queuing situations.

28) Section 12
CN is of the opinion that gates should not be required (or permitted) on high speed roads (90 km/hr and higher) as they tend to create more problems than safety benefit. An exception may be situations with two or more track where trains may be passing.

29) Figure 13-4
The requirement covered by Note 2 in the figure has changed since previous versions of RTD10. It is now 7.7m instead of 8.7m. CN requests information on the reason for this change as it will result in increased costs to the railway.

30) Section 19.1(b)
This section of the draft standard contains a new requirement that bells be installed on each sidewalk where there is more than one sidewalk. This proposed change will add cost to the railway for questionable benefit. CN asks that the benefit associated with this requirement be weighed against these increased costs to ensure that there is a justifiable need for this requirement. If not justified, it should be removed.

31) Section 19.2(b)
The proposed requirement for a 7 second gate delay is in conflict with the current requirements of General Order E-6, AREMA and the MUTCD (US), all of which specify a minimum of 3 seconds. CN has been designing its crossing warning systems for many years in accordance with the AREMA value and, as such, the vast majority of our crossings with gates would not be in compliance with the proposed 7 second delay.
Although CN can agree with using this new value for all new crossings, the need to upgrade existing crossings would be extremely expensive. CN questions the need for an automatic requirement to upgrade in light of the fact that those locations where gate delay has been determined to be a problem would be discovered and upgraded under Section 25 of the proposed regulation.

32) Section 19.3
The requirement to upgrade existing signal lights to LEDs should reflect the installation schedules under the current special TC funding program. Any requirement to install LEDs prior to the program schedule could result in an increased cost to the railways that must be accounted for in the RIAS.

33) Sections 19.8 and 19.9
It is unclear to CN as to the requirements for alignment of backlights dedicated to sidewalks, recreational trails and pedestrian and bicycle paths. CN asks for clarification in this regard.

34) Section 19.12(b)
The need to adjust warning times when operating speeds have been reduced will result in increased cost to the railways. CN asks that the benefit associated with this requirement be weighed against these increase costs to ensure that there is a justifiable need for this requirement. If not justified, it should be removed.

CN also notes that this section refers to the “limits in section 20.4(c)”. This does not exist.

35) Section 21.3(a)
This section of the draft standard references Table 21-1 and indicates that all grade crossing warning systems must be inspected and tested in accordance with the frequencies stated in the Table.

CN notes that the Table does not make reference to the specific reduced inspection requirements that CN had provided to Transport Canada as part of the package for approval of the Walk Light and Restricted Crossing Warning Systems.

Without reference to these specific inspection requirements, such warning systems would have to be inspected in full compliance with the intervals for regular warning systems. This would greatly reduce the benefit to the railways associated with these lower cost systems.

CN asks that reference to the inspection requirements for Walk Light and Restricted Crossing Warning Systems be added to the Standard or the significant additional cost be reflected in the RIAS.

36) Section 21.5(a)
CN notes that the required information to be included on plans and forms includes a number of new items. These will all result in increased costs for the railway, a fact that must be included in the RIAS. CN asks that the benefit associated with this requirement be weighed against these increase costs to ensure that there is a justifiable need for this requirement. If not justified, it should be removed.

37) Appendix D, Table D-1
CN disagrees with the stated responsibility for the railway to provide the road authority contact information for all private crossings. Clearly this would be much simpler for the road authority or private owner itself to provide. Adding this to the railway’s responsibilities only adds administrative and research costs that must be reflected in the RIAS

38) Appendix D, Table D-1
CN is of the opinion that an important data component missing from Appendix D is “crossing within 0.5 miles with potential for consolidation”. This should be added to the appendix

39) Appendix D, Table D-2
CN disagrees with the stated responsibility for the railway to be jointly responsible to provide information on interconnection, advance preemption, prepare to stop signs and associated advance activation and delayed turnoff time. Clearly the road authority is in much better position to provide this on their own. Adding this requirement to the railway’s responsibilities, only adds unnecessary administrative and research costs that must be reflected in the RIAS.

40) Appendix D, Table D-2
CN asks that the data element pertaining to whether the crossing is regularly used by pedestrians, cyclists or persons using assistive devices be split up to cover each of these separately. This level of detail is required, as certain of the items in the standard (such as 6.2.2 and 7.2(d)) apply only to one or more of the subgroups.

41) Appendix D, Table D-2
CN notes that several important data elements pertaining to items under road authority responsibility are missing from the Table. CN suggest that data elements be added to cover the presence of AWS signage, roadway markings, and Do Not Stop on Track signs. All of these would be the responsibility of the road authority to provide information.

42) Appendix D, Table D-2
CN strongly objects to the stated responsibility for the railway to be solely responsible for providing all information pertaining to private crossings. This adds a significant cost and resource implication to the railway which must be reflected in the RIAS. The railway has no direct way of determining many of the items whereas the private crossing owner has the direct ability. This would be made even worse if all crossings on reserves are to be considered as private crossings (see comment 6 under Regulation where CN seeks clarification on this issue).

CN requests that private crossings be treated in the same manner as public crossings with respect to responsibility for information.

Closing Remarks

In closing, CN reiterates its position that, although the proposed regulation and standard generally provide a solid safety benchmark for all new crossings as well as those for which significant changes are being made, the proposed handling of existing crossings is unreasonable, and will impose significant financial and operational burdens on the railways that cannot be justified on a cost/benefit basis.

Crossing safety has been constantly improving over the past 15 years due to the existing programs that railways and Transport Canada have in place. Crossing accidents have been reduced by 54%, fatalities by 46% and serious injuries by 70% since 1996. Even in the six years, this improvement is evident. Since 2005, there has been a 37% reduction in accidents, 32% in fatalities and 60% in serious injuries.

As such, CN questions the justification for the proposed requirements to have existing crossings to be assessed and brought into compliance with much of the new standard within the relatively short period referenced in the regulation.

To the extent that the parties agree on the need to bring all existing crossings into any of the new standards requirements, CN strongly feels that these must be handled though a long term plan subject to the funding available from Transport Canada.

To do otherwise will impose significant operational constraints on the railway industry that will have negative impact on the Canadian economy and on passenger service.

Sincerely

D. Watts
Sr. Manager - Regulatory Affairs