Watch Now

Canada issues orders to prevent parked rolling stock from rolling

Government addresses air brakes and locomotive performance standards

The Canadian government has issued new orders to prevent parked rolling stock from rolling. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The Canadian government has issued new orders that address uncontrolled movement of rail equipment.

Transport Canada said Wednesday that the orders, which will fall under the Railway Safety Act, are in response to the Feb. 1 derailment of a Goderich-Exeter Railway train in Goderich, Ontario.

The first order addresses air brakes. Under this order, railway companies will be required to implement certain procedures that locomotive engineers must follow to prevent the rollaway or uncontrolled movement of equipment because of an unintended release of the train’s air brakes.

The second order consists of two proposed amendments to the Railway Locomotive Inspection and Safety Rules and the Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) that the transport minister must approve. 

The proposed amendments seek to improve performance standards for locomotives equipped with rollaway protection, which is a feature designed to apply the air brakes when movement is detected, and clarify the definition of an “unattended train” under the CROR so that the rule can be followed more consistently.

Transport Canada says these proposed amendments build upon existing work between the railway industry and the government to prevent equipment from rolling away. 

“Building safer communities and protecting Canadians who live and work along rail lines is a priority. The majority of uncontrolled train movements take place in rail yards where the risk to the public is lower, but they can still be serious, especially for railway employees,” Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said in a release. “These ministerial orders improve rail safety by requiring that additional layers of defense be put in place to prevent these kinds of accidents.”

Wednesday’s orders are the latest actions that Transport Canada has taken to address equipment rolling away.

Last October, the minister of transport implemented measures that required railways employees to adopt new practices that would prevent uncontrolled movement while conducting switching operations. And in April 2020, Transport Canada adopted a new rule within the CROR that addressed safety procedures when trains must come to an emergency stop on steep grades.

Subscribe to FreightWaves’ e-newsletters and get the latest insights on freight right in your inbox.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

Related articles:

Canadian government revises freight rail safety rules

Transport Canada seeks input on rail service data collection

Transport Canada revises rules on worker fatigue in the rail industry

Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.