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Trains have restrictions on how long a public railway or roadway grade crossing can be blocked when pedestrians or vehicles are waiting to cross.
Crossings owned by Canadian National (CN) or Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) are regulated by Transport Canada. Alberta does not enforce these regulations.
The regulations state:
It is prohibited for railway equipment to be left standing (stopped) on a crossing surface, or for switching operations (back and forth movements) to be conducted, in a manner that obstructs a public grade crossing, including by the activation of the gate of a warning system for more than 5 minutes when vehicular or pedestrian traffic is waiting to cross it. If an emergency vehicle requires passage across a grade crossing, a company must take all necessary measures to immediately clear the grade crossing.
The Railway Safety Act has regulations for crossings. For more information, see the Government of Canada – Grade Crossings Regulations.
To report a blocked crossing, first connect with the applicable railways:
Then contact a Transport Canada regional office:
Provide the following information:
- name of the railway company on the engine or on the yellow sign affixed on the cross buck’s post which includes the crossing identification number and the owner
- location of the crossing (city and intersection/road)
- date and time
- how long the crossing was blocked, and if the train was stopped or going back and forth over the crossing
Call 911 if an incident involves a vehicle or person and a train. Provide the following information:
- location of crossing (city and intersection/road)
- crossing identification and owner on the yellow sign affixed on the cross buck’s post
If a municipality has a safety concern with a grade crossing that is blocked, both parties must work together to find a solution. If no solution is found after 90 days, the municipality can contact Transport Canada.
If a crossing warning system is damaged or not working correctly, look on the yellow sign affixed on the cross bucks to determine the owner and crossing identification number.
Contact the owner with the following information:
- mileage and subdivision
- any abnormalities such as crossing lights not working or flashing without a train present or near the crossing
- any damage of the cross arms
- any other issues affecting the safety of the crossing
Connect with Rail Safety:
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