Collenette supports intent of TSB recommendations to enhance railway safety

by Canadian Shipper

Transport Minister David Collenette has responded to the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canadas report on a rear-end collision between two Canadian Pacific Railway freight trains near Notch Hill, British Columbia on August 11, 1998.

The Board made two recommendations to Transport Canada. The first requests that “the Department of Transport and the railway industry implement additional backup safety defences to help ensure that signal indications are consistently recognized and followed.”

Collenette says he supports the intent of the first recommendation.

Together with the Railway Association of Canada and the railway companies, the department will continue to study new technologies that could provide for additional backup safety defences, a prepared statement posted on the ministrys website states.

It adds that Transport Canada is monitoring studies currently being undertaken by Canadian Pacific Railway on improved radio and locomotive cab communication which involves the use of head sets. The department is also monitoring technologies such as Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) also referred to as Positive Train Control Systems (PTC) which enables communication between trains, and could provide the required additional backup to help prevent such accidents from occurring.

The Board second recommendation requests that the Department of Transport assess the impact of noise on voice communication in locomotive cabs and ensure that crew members can effectively communicate safety-critical information.”

Collenette also supports the intent of this second recommendation. He says his department has recently undertaken an assessment of noise levels in locomotive cabs, in conjunction with Human Resources Development Canada.

Further to this assessment, the department will be reviewing the impact of noise on voice communication.

In response to the TSBs reference to the current state of compliance with the Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR), Rule 34 (the identification and calling of the signals by the crew), Transport Canada will undertake concentrated efforts across Canada to assess the situation, and take remedial action if necessary, the departments web release states.
The Railway Safety Management Systems Regulations, which will come into effect in March 2001, is aimed to promote a safety culture within the railway industry.

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