2001 TSB Recommendations & TC Responses

R99H0007 -Derailment/Collision - VIA Rail Canada Inc. - Passenger Train No. 74 Mile 46.7, Canadian National Chatham Subdivision - Thamesville, Ontario - 23 April 1999 (R01-01)(R01-02)(R01-03)

TSB Full Text Report (R99H0007):
http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-reports/rail/1999/r99h0007/r99h0007.asp

TSB Recommendation R01-01

Permanent System Defences - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Report)

The Board recommends that:

The Department of Transport require the development of additional permanent system defences that permit a means to help ensure safety when trains approach main track switches in Occupancy Control System outside Automatic Block Signal System territory. (R01-01)

Transport Canada Response (R01-01)

(signed by the Minister on 07/02/2001)

Transport Canada supports the intent of this recommendation. The Department has already initiated a number of regulatory actions to ensure that permanent safety defences are developed to improve the safety of rail operations in Occupancy Control System (OCS) territory outside of Automatic Block Signal System territory. The most notable is the Emergency Directive issued November 14, 2000, pursuant to Section 33 of the Railway Safety Act (RSA), to Canadian National (CN), Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), VIA Rail and RailAmerica. A copy of the Emergency Directive was provided to the Transportation Safety Board at the time.

The Emergency Directive had an expiry date of May 14, 2001. Section 33 (6) of the RSA allows the Department to renew an Emergency Directive, by notice sent to the railway company. On May 14, 2001, Transport Canada renewed the Emergency Directive for a further six month period, as it was of the opinion that there were no long term mitigation measures proposed by the railways that would ensure a uniform level of safety equal to that which currently exists in the Emergency Directive (copy attached).

In addition, the Department is looking for the industry to develop a rule for establishing additional system defences similar to those currently in the Emergency Directive. Section 19 of the RSA authorizes the Department to order a railway company to formulate rules respecting any matter referred to in subsection 18.(1) or (2.1) dealing with operation and maintenance of railway works and equipment regulations, or to revise its rules respecting that matter; and within a specific period, to file the formulated or revised rules with the Department for approval. On May 14, 2001, all federally-regulated railways were ordered to revise Rule 104 of the Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) and to file the revised rule submission with the Department, for consideration, within 150 days from the date of the Order (copy attached). Should the railways fail to submit an appropriate rule or not respond accordingly, the Department has the authority to propose rule pursuant to Section 19 (7) of the RSA.

Transport Canada is funding a research project consisting of a study of systems that will indicate the position of a hand-operated switch on non-signaled main rail lines. The Transporation Group of the University of New Brunswick has been commissioned with this study.

The study will identify technology currently available across North America and abroad. Manufacturers and suppliers, University research groups, railway companies, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Transport Canada officials were interviewed to obtain a full spectrum of the types of systems available and what these systems can accomplish.

Once completed, the study will be available for the information of any interested parties. Depending on the results, the study will provide Transport Canada and the railway companies with alternatives for consideration on OCS operations.

TSB Recommendation R01-02

Occupancy Control System in Canada - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Report)

The Board recommends that:

The Department of Transport, the Railway Association of Canada and provincial authorities responsible for train operations review the system design specifications for computer-assisted and non-computer-assisted Occupancy Control System in Canada to ensure all components of these systems are designed with sufficient regard to human error. (R01-02)

Transport Canada Response (R01-02)

(signed by the Minister on 07/02/2001)

Transport Canada supports the intent of this recommendation.

Representatives from the department and the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) met in May 2001 with Transportation Safety Board officials to discuss the intent of this recommendation. Transport Canada in conjunction with the RAC intends to review the system design specifications for computer-assisted and non-computer assisted OCS in Canada. The department proposes to develop jointly with the RAC and with the involvement of the Railways, Unions and provincial authorities, an instrument such as a questionnaire, for the railways to use that will allow them to analyze the system design specifications, including the consequence of human error on their own OCS operations. It is anticipated that if any inadequate system defence is identified by a railway when conducting this self-evaluation, corrective action will be initiated by the railway to improve the system design specifications of its OCS operation.

Transport Canada will review the railways' self-analysis and, based on the results, will initiate whatever appropriate action is deemed necessary.

TSB Recommendation R01-03

Storage of Dangerous Goods - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Report)

The Board recommends that:

The Department of Transport review the current regulatory framework and industry policy to help ensure that an adequate level of safety is maintained regarding the storage of dangerous goods within the rail transportation system and during the transition of shipments of dangerous goods to or from the rail transportation system. (R01-03).

Transport Canada Response (R01-03)

(signed by the Minister on 07/02/2001)

Transport Canada agrees with this recommendation and is taking actions to address it.

As the first action, the Department will be taking additional steps to review the issue of dangerous goods storage on rail carrier property. In the upcoming months, Transport Canada plans to consult with municipal, industry and railway company representatives to review the full range of safety issues affecting storage of dangerous goods on railway property. These consultations will include storage of rail cars near main line tracks and storage in the vicinity of public buildings, such as hospitals and schools. A consultation paper is now being prepared. In addition, the consultation paper will propose, in place of the concept of expediting movement, that dangerous goods cars not be picked up at origin until the roofing of the car is determined, thereby reducing the occasions when such cars will be stored during transport.

It is expected that the results of these consultations will lead to amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.

The second action addresses the issue of delivery and possession of the dangerous goods at destination. It was noted in the report that although the railways considered the cars to be delivered, the Orford Coop did not and in fact had no access to the cars. The upcoming Clear Language version of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods regulations will address who has possession of the dangerous goods at destination and provide for the delivery of a document that identifies the dangerous goods.

The new Subsection 3.2(3) states:

"Dangerous goods in transport are in the possession of a carrier from the time the carrier takes possession of them for transport until another person takes possession of them."

In addition, the new Subsection 3.2(6) states:

"At or before the time a person, other than another carrier, takes possession of the dangerous goods, the carrier of the dangerous goods must give to that person a document, or with that person's permission, an electronic copy of a document that identifies the dangerous goods."

These two clauses will reduce the likelihood that there could be any confusion as to when a dangerous good car is delivered and who has possession of it.

R98T0292 - Yard Derailment - Canadian National - Train No. M333-31-26 Mile 0.0, Halton Subdivision MacMillan Yard - Concord, Ontario - 26 November 1998 (R01-04)

TSB Full Text Report (R98T0292):
http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-reports/rail/1998/r98t0292/r98t0292.asp

TSB Recommendation R01-04

Level of Risk in Heavy Tonnage - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Report)

The Board recommends that:

The Department of Transport and the Railway Association of Canada ensure that maintenance standards and practices address the level of risks in heavy tonnage "other than main tracks". (R01-04)

Transport Canada's Response (R01-04)

(signed by Minister on 20/11/2001)

Transport Canada supports the intent of the Transportation Safety Board's (Board) recommendation, and has already taken action to address the Board's concerns.

Following the accident, Transport Canada (TC) exempted Canadian National (CN) from the Canadian Track Safety Rules at MacMillan Yard to implement and evaluate an inspection regime specifically tailored for that rail yard. The exemption was granted for a one-year trial period commencing May 2000. TC allows exemptions only if equivalent levels of safety are maintained or if safety is enhanced.

CN's new inspection regime at MacMillan Yard categorizes tracks into high, medium and low usage. The inspection frequencies are proportional to the frequency of use and tonnage of trains. Inspections of entrance and exit tracks at the test site were increased to bi-weekly rather than monthly inspections as prescribed by the Canadian Track Safety Rules.

After the first year implementation of the pilot-project, TC inspectors found that CN had greatly improved its monitoring system related to inspections as well as maintenance of its yard tracks at MacMillan resulting in improved safety conditions at MacMillan Yard.

In May 2001, TC granted CN a three-year extension to the exemption to refine the new inspection regime. The extension granted to CN will also allow sufficient time for TC and the railway industry to work towards developing a uniform set of rules that could apply to all railway yards, yet be sufficiently flexible to address each yard's individual operational and physical characteristics.

TC and the railway industry have agreed to form a working committee, comprised of railway, union and TC representatives, to recommend amendments to the Canadian Track Safety Rules and railway industry practices. This committee will consider the TSB's recommendation, and the experience gained from CN's revised inspection and maintenance practices in MacMillan Yard.

TC will keep the TSB informed of developments with respect to this recommendation.

R99T0298 - Crossing Accident and Derailment - Canadian National Freight Train No. M-321-21-22 and VIA Rail Canada Inc. Passenger Train No. 68 - Mile 292.59, Kingston Subdivision - Bowmanville, Ontario, 23 November 1999 (R01-05)(R01-06)

TSB Full Text Report (R99T0298):
http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-reports/rail/1999/r99t0298/r99t0298.asp

TSB Recommendation R01-05

New Grade Crossing Regulations - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Report)

The Board recommends that:

The Department of Transport expedite the promulgation of new grade crossing regulations. (R01-05)

Transport Canada's Response (R01-05)

(signed by Minister on 01/15/2002)

TC agrees with the need for the promulgation of the new grade crossing regulations. TC is currently finalizing the new Grade Crossing Regulations and it is expected that the regulations will be published in Part I of the Canada Gazette in the spring of 2002.

The proposed Grade Crossing Regulations are intended to set clear safety standards for all grade crossings. The regulations will also clearly define the responsibilities of railway companies, public road authorities and private road owners.

TSB Recommendation R01-06

Horizontal Alignment Standards - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Report)

The Board recommends that:

The Department of Transport's new regulations include horizontal alignment standards for approaches to private and farm crossings. (R01-06)

Transport Canada's Response (R01-06)

(signed by Minister on 01/15/2002)

The Railway Safety Act currently requires that all grade crossings be built based on sound engineering principles, and that a professional engineer take responsibility for the engineering work.

TC agrees with the need to include horizontal alignment standards and the proposed Grade Crossing Regulations will be modified to address requirements for horizontal alignment of approaches for private and farm crossings.

The proposed regulations already include several crossing design standards that will greatly improve safety at private farm crossings. The proposed regulations will require that new crossings be built based on the specific characteristics of the vehicle intending to use a particular crossing (e.g. farm equipment, long heavy trucks). Also, the width of the road lanes and shoulders at the grade crossing surface will be required to be no less than the width of the road approaches so that vehicles could quickly move across rail lines. The angle of intersection would also be regulated to ensure appropriate sight lines would be in place.

TSB Recommendation R01-07

Private and Farm Crossings on the Kingston Subdivision - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Report)

The Board recommends that:

The Department of Transport, in cooperation with Canadian National, comprehensively examine all private and farm crossings on the Kingston Subdivision with a view to closing or consolidating crossings, and where identified as necessary, upgrade those remaining to lessen the safety risk. (R01-07)

Transport Canada's Response (R01-07)

(signed by Minister on 01/15/2002)

TC agrees with the principle of examining the safety of private and farm crossings on the Kingston Subdivision. Under the Railway Safety Act, it is the responsibility of the railway company to ensure that the farm and private crossings are constructed and maintained in accordance with sound engineering principles.

Nonetheless, TC will review the issue of private and farm grade crossings with Canadian National and obtain their commitment to review safety at farm and private crossings. TC Rail Safety officers will also conduct random inspections of private and farm crossings on the Kingston Subdivision, identify any concerns with respect to their safety, and ensure that appropriate measures are taken.

The proposed Grade Crossing Regulations will prohibit new grade crossings where train speed exceeds 80 mph, such as they are on the Kingston Subdivision. Closure of crossings has always been a difficult undertaking and there has been only limited success that has required considerable time and efforts by those involved. However, under the new section 12.1 of the Railway Safety Act, TC is in the process of putting in place a funding program that will provide an incentive for private landowners and road authorities to give up their rights to grade crossings.

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