2003 TSB Recommendations & TC Responses

R00H0004 - Main Track Derailment - Ottawa Valley Railway/RailAmerica Inc. Train No. 556-17 - Mile 1.88, North Bay Subdivision - Near Chalk River, Ontario - 20 June 2000 (R03-01)

TSB Full Text Report (R00H0004):

TSB Recommendation R03-01

Elimination of UDEs - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Report)

The Board recommends that:

The Department of Transport, in co-operation with the industry, research the issue of continuous operation of undesired emergency brake application (UDE) problematic trains and establish policies and procedures to resolve this issue. (R03-01)

Transport Canada's Response (R03-01)

(signed by Minister on 05/06/2003)

As evidenced by the latest TSB occurrence statistics, the total number of main track derailments has been declining since 1997. There has been a 38% decline in main track derailments from 1996 through 2002. In 2002, the frequency of main track derailments was 10% below the five-year average of 129.4 (1997-2002). The number of reported air brake related to derailments in the last 5 years represents less than 1% of total derailments, with only one reported occurrence attributable to an undesired emergency brake failure.

The Department will work with the TSB, the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) and the Canadian rail industry to assist in assessing the risk level of this issue by utilizing an integrated risk management process. Upon the completion of the risk management process, should it be determined that the issue of UDEs is a high risk priority, appropriate action will be taken by the Department with the railways to address any identified threats to safe railway operations. The process is expected to be completed by September 2003.

R99T0017 - Train Passed a Signal Indicating Stop VIA Rail Canada Inc. - Train No. 52 - Mile 232.8 Kingston Subdivision Trenton Junction Trenton, Ontario - 19 January 1999 (R03-02)

TSB Full Text Report (R99T0017):

TSB Recommendation R03-02

National Standards for Locomotive Data Recorders - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Report)

The Board recommends that:

The Department of Transport, in conjunction with the railway industry, establish comprehensive national standards for locomotive data recorders that include a requirement for an on-board cab voice recording interfaced with on-board communications systems. R03-02

Transport Canada's Response (R03-02)

(signed by the Minister on 10/01/2003):

Transport Canada will work with the Canadian rail industry, the TSB and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), including the National Transportation Safety Board, to discuss and identify options and determine the advisability of the potential establishment of:

  1. Comprehensive national standards addressing the survivability of Locomotive Event Recorders; and
  2. Specifications for performance regarding the type of data recorded, which may include audio capabilities, and technological options available to the industry in order to interface with on-board communications systems.

Consultation with the FRA will also continue as harmonization with the U.S. regulatory requirements, whenever practicable, is important to facilitate the significant cross-border rail transport movements.

R00T0257 - Crossing Accident - VIA Rail Canada Inc. Train No. 85 Mile 33.54, Goderich-Exeter Railway Company -Guelph Subdivision Limehouse, Ontario - 28 September 2000 (R03-03)

TSB Full Text Report (R00T0257):

TSB Recommendation R03-03

Adequacy of Procedures Where There is Construction at Grade Crossings - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Report)

The Board recommends that:

The Department of Transport implement new grade crossing procedures without delay irrespective of the status of the proposed regulations. (R03-03)

Transport Canada's Response (R03-03)

(signed by the Minister on 07/04/2003):

TC is working on a priority basis on developing Grade Crossing Regulations, which will address the safety issues raised by the TSB. The process of developing the proposed Grade Crossing Regulations is highly technical and complex. The Department is committed to producing regulations that are as comprehensive as possible to improve the safety of motorists approaching grade crossings undergoing construction, maintenance or testing.

Due to the technical and financial complexities of the proposed regulations, consultations have been held widely across Canada in order that all provinces and municipal associations were consulted regarding the content and intent of the proposed regulations. As part of the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, TC is obligated to estimate the cost of implementing the regulatory proposal. A Grade Crossing Regulations Working Group (GCRWG) is currently examining the costs associated with implementing the proposed regulations and is striving to complete its work on the proposed regulations, technical standards and cost benefit analysis.

It is TC's goal to have the GCRWG's consultative process completed by the end of this summer, followed by consideration of the regulatory proposal by the department. Publication in Canada Gazette Part I is expected to follow later in the year, followed by Canada Gazette Part II in 6-8 months. Therefore the provisions of the regulations would not come into effect until the end of Summer 2004.

In addition, the RAC is developing a Recommended Practices for Manual Flagging at Railway/Road Grade Crossing to complement the proposed Grade Crossing Regulations. These procedures are proceeding independently of the regulations.

The Department, with the railway industry, will expedite the implementation of these procedures aimed at improving the safety of motorists approaching grade crossings undergoing construction activity. TC will meet with RAC in June 2003 to formally outline its expectations and objectives regarding their procedures.

R03V0083 - Main Track Derailments - Canadian National - Train No. 356-51-14 - Mile 7.9 - Fraser Subdivision - McBride, British Columbia - 14 May, 2003 Interim Rail Safety Recommendations - Inspection and Maintenance of Timber Bridges (R03-04) (R03-05)

Full-Text Communiqué:

TSB Recommendation R03-04

CN Inspection and Maintenance of the Bridge - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Communiqué)

The Board recommends that:

CN verify the condition of its timber bridges and ensure their continued safety with effective inspection and maintenance programs. Transport Canada Bridge Reviews. (R03-04)

Transport Canada's Response (R03-04)

(signed by the Minister on 02/05/2004):

Transport Canada (TC) is not required to respond directly to this recommendation, however, TC would like to inform the TSB of departmental action taken as a result of this occurrence. Following this occurrence, TC's Pacific Region met with Canadian National (CN) officials on July 7-9, 2003 with respect to its bridge program. As a result of this meeting, TC is conducting its own review under the Railway Safety Act with respect to CN practices relating to the condition of this bridge. TC is following-up with CN in order that CN verify the condition of its timber bridges and ensures their continued safety with effective inspection and maintenance programs.

TSB Recommendation R03-05

The Department of Transport's Compliance Review - (Action Required, as presented in the TSB Report)

The Board recommends that:

The Department of Transport incorporate in its compliance reviews a comparison of railway working procedures and practices with railway inspection and maintenance records. (R03-05)

Transport Canada's Response (R03-05)

(signed by the Minister on 02/05/2004):

TC is in the process of revising its traditional inspection and monitoring programs to integrate monitoring and inspection activities of railway infrastructure, equipment and operations with a “Safety Management System” (SMS) approach. This approach is now encompassed in the Safety Management System Regulations for railway companies, which became effective in March 2001.

The SMS approach will require an examination by TC of each railway company's standards and practices with respect to safety management of its infrastructure, as well as auditing of company inspection and maintenance records.

By incorporating compliance reviews with the comparison of working procedures and practices and by examining railway records, TC will have a better opportunity of discovering gaps in railway management of bridge condition assessment and repair. TC is aggressively developing an audit program that focuses on all railway structures. Track program "cursory inspections" will also continue to be carried out and any concerns will be flagged for TC follow-up audit activities.

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