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Trains Blocking a Crossing

What is a blocked crossing?

A crossing is blocked when a train prevents drivers and pedestrians from passing at a public railway/ roadway grade crossing.

What regulations do railway companies have to follow when trains are operating at a public grade crossing?

Public railway and roadway grade crossings requirements are under the federal Grade Crossing Regulations, Canada Regulation (SOR/2014-275).  The majority of crossings in Alberta are operated by Canadian National (CN) or Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) which are regulated by Transport Canada.

The Grade Crossings Regulations state that:

  • Railway companies cannot conduct regular railway operations or leave railway equipment blocking a public grade crossing for more than five minutes when drivers and pedestrians are waiting to cross, unless the railway equipment is continually moving in one direction.
  • When emergency vehicles need to pass through, railway companies must take all measures to immediately clear the crossing.

What do I do if I have an issue with a blocked crossing?

Contact your Transport Canada’s regional office at Toll Free Number: 1-888-463-0521 or email pnrweb@tc.gc.ca and give them the following information:

  • Location of the crossing (city and intersection/road);
  • date and time,
  • name of the railway company (which can seen on the engine or on the yellow sign affixed on the cross bucks post);  AND
  • how long the crossing was blocked, and if the train was stopped or going back and forth over the crossing.  

NOTE: If the train was moving in one direction it is not a violation of the regulations and should not be reported. 

What do I do if I have a safety concern with a blocked crossing?

  • A safety concern is created when railway equipment blocks a crossing on a regular basis and has the potential to cause physical harm, property loss and/or have environmental impacts regardless of the length of time that it blocks the passage.
    • e.g. public grade crossing is on the primary access route of an emergency vehicle.
  • You should first contact your municipality if you think there is a safety concern about a blocked crossing.

NOTE: The CN and Canadian Pacific Railways are under Federal Jurisdiction and the Province of Alberta cannot enforce the regulations for the operation of the railways and crossings.

See also Transport Canada’s question and answer site regarding blocked crossings.

Incidents and Other Safety Issues Affecting a Railway Crossing

There has been an accident at the crossing what do I do?

In case of an incident involving a vehicle or person and a train you must call 911 and provide:

  • Location of the crossing (city and intersection/road);  AND
  • the crossing identification which can be found on a yellow sign affixed on the cross bucks post indicating the owner of the crossing and the number of the crossing.

What do I do if the crossing warning system appears damaged or not working?

The crossing owner must be contacted and informed of:

  • The information on the yellow sign affixed on the cross bucks post indicating the owner of the crossing and the crossing number and or mileage and subdivision,
  • any abnormalities such as crossing lights not working or flashing with no train present or near the crossing or;
  • any damage of the cross arms; AND
  • any other issues affecting the safety of the crossing.

How do I identify the crossing and crossing owner?

Crossings can be identified by information on a yellow sign affixed on the cross bucks post indicating the owner of the crossing and the number of the crossing.

Contact information for the Railways

CN

For emergencies contact:  1-800-465-9239

If you have questions, comments or if you need more information email Public Inquiries or call 1-888-888-5909.

CPR

For emergencies contact:  1-800-716-9132

If you have questions, comments or if you need more information email Community Connect or call 1 (800) 766-7912.