Government of Canada takes steps toward implementing innovative technologies to improve rail safety

News release

February 4, 2022               Ottawa                 Transport Canada

The Government of Canada remains committed to protecting Canadians who live and work along rail lines, which is why it continues to encourage railways to use the most effective tools available to reduce the risk of serious accidents.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced that Transport Canada is publishing a Notice of Intent in the Canada Gazette, Part I, describing a path forward to implement Enhanced Train Control technologies in Canada. These technologies will provide an additional layer of safety in transporting people and goods across the country’s vast railway network.

With driver assist mechanism embedded within, Enhanced Train Control technologies at their most basic level of functionality reduce the potential for human error by alerting the train crew to potential danger. At their most advanced level of functionality, Enhanced Train Control technologies can stop a train’s movement to prevent a collision or derailment.

The Notice of Intent describes an approach to implementing Enhanced Train Control in Canada that is based on extensive work conducted with railways and labour representatives. This approach focuses on having railway companies tailor investments according to the level of safety risk posed by individual railway corridors. In particular:

  • Enhanced Train Control technologies with more advanced levels of functionality would be used in higher risk corridors (i.e., to stop the movement of trains to prevent collisions with other trains, derailments caused by excessive train speed, or prevent trains from entering unauthorized areas of tracks).
  • Enhanced Train Control technologies, with the basic level of functionality, would be used in lower risk corridors to alert train crews to potential danger (such as exceeding speed restrictions or upcoming stop signal indications).

Recognizing the importance of working with the railway industry, labour representatives and other stakeholders, the Notice of Intent encourages feedback and future collaboration on the implementation of Enhanced Train Control in Canada.

Transport Canada continues to work with the railway industry to make our railway system even safer for Canadians.

Quotes

“The safety benefits of Enhanced Train Control technologies are widely recognized when it comes to helping prevent certain railway accidents caused by human behaviour. This Notice of Intent is a first step, and  successfully introducing this technology to Canada will involve working closely with industry, labour representatives and other stakeholders to develop new approaches, standards and protocols. Enhanced Train Control technologies represent an innovative means to further improve rail safety in Canada.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport 

Quick facts

  • Both the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and the 2018 Railway Safety Act Review Panel recommended that Transport Canada develop a Canadian approach to implementing Enhanced Train Control in Canada.

  • Transport Canada previously established a Train Control Working Group with representatives from railways and labour. The working group studied options and recommended that a targeted, risk-based, corridor-specific approach be used to implement train control in Canada.

  • Enhanced Train Control technologies is known as Positive Train Control in the United States. Canadian National and Canadian Pacific have installed these technologies in their United States operations, which will be important to consider and leverage as the use of these technologies are implemented in Canada.

Associated links

Contacts

Laurel Lennox
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
laurel.lennox@tc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-0055
media@tc.gc.ca

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