New winter rail rules introduced

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Changes to the Rules Respecting Key Trains and Key Routes have been approved by Transport Canada. These changes are the result of Ministerial Orders that were put in place in 2020, to address important risk factors for derailments caused by railway infrastructure, especially during winter operations.

The revised rules now require railways to have a winter operation plan for each subdivision where higher risk key trains operate. They must also install broken rail detection systems and maintenance procedures, and carry out more frequent and better track inspections.

High risk trains that carry large quantities of crude oil or liquid petroleum gases will have their speed restricted.

In 2020, the Minister of Transport issued a number of Ministerial Orders, under the Railway Safety Act, which put in place speed restrictions for key trains and higher-risk key trains.

The Minister also ordered railway companies to propose changes to the Rules Respecting Key Trains and Key Routes that would make these speed restrictions permanent and to propose additional changes to further strengthen track maintenance and inspection practices.

Transport Canada approved the Rules Respecting Key Trains and Key Routes in 2016, under the Railway Safety Act, in response to a series of derailments of trains carrying crude oil (e.g. Lac Mégantic (2013), Gladwick (2015), Gogama (2015)).