The Grade Crossings Regulations (GCR), which came into force on November 28, 2014, introduces several requirements that would improve safety standards, clarify roles and responsibilities, and facilitate information sharing.The Regulations incorporate standards based on the current best engineering practices and makes them law. This brings all federally regulated grade crossings in Canada to the same standard.
Railway companies and road authorities will be required to meet these safety standards when building or altering grade crossings as well as bring existing grade crossings in compliance, through measures such as the introduction of signs and warning systems.
The Regulations also require railway companies and road authorities to share safety-related information on their grade crossings to determine what they need to do to make their crossings safer.
As the GCR are implemented through a phased in approach, railway companies and road authorities have seven years to meet the requirements to upgrade existing crossings. There are different requirements for existing crossings which took effect at the coming into force of the Regulations and then at seven years, by November 28, 2021, as follows;
As of November 28, 2014, Railway companies and road authorities were required to:
- Meet surface condition design and railway sign requirements
- Test and inspect warning systems
- Meet new construction requirements for new crossings
- Respect new provisions for preventing blocked crossings
- Follow a new train whistling cessation process
- Apply new and existing protection measures
- Keep records
As of November 28, 2016, Railway companies and road authorities will be required to share the following safety information:
- Point of contact (regular and emergency)
- Location of grade crossings
- Details on the road approach and rail configuration (number of lanes, gradient, tracks, whistling, signage, etc.)
- Road/rail volumes and speeds
- Crossing user details (vehicles, pedestrians, assistive devices, etc.)
As of November 28, 2021, Crossings must meet certain requirements defined in the regulations such as:
- Crossing surface design
- Road and railway signs
- Crossing warning systems
- Traffic signals timing with warning systems
Further information on the Grade Crossings Regulations can be found at http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/PDF/SOR-2014-275.pdf.
You may also wish to consult the Canada’s Grade Crossings Regulations: what you need to know brochure which provides an overview of the requirements.