Digest: Canadian government announces funding for $25 million in rail safety projects

News Wire Digest for Sept. 18: TSB issues report on near-miss of two VIA trains; CN line reopens after Hope, B.C., derailment
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Friday morning Canadian rail news in brief:

Canadian government announces funding for rail safety projects
Canada’s federal government on Thursday announced funding of more than $25 million for the Rail Safety Improvement Program, covering 161 projects focusing on infrastructure, technology, and research, and four rail safety education and awareness initiatives. The list of projects is available here. The safety programs include almost $2 million in funding for Operation Lifesaver; more than $1 million to Canadian Safety Train Express Inc, to support the Railway Safety Learning Centre; more than $100,000 to Ontario transit agency Metrolinx, to evaluate anti-trespassing panels and provide recommendations and guidelines for future installation, and almost $25,000 over to Northumberland County, Ontario, to improve grade-crossing safety awareness. “Over the years,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in a press release, “our government's renewed commitment to rail safety demonstrates our dedication to supporting projects that keep Canadians safe, stimulate the economy, and ensure that our rail network remains one of the most efficient and secure rail transportation systems in the world."

Transportation Safety Board report calls for train control system to guard against missed signals

A report released Wednesday by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada from a near collision of two VIA Rail Canada trains emphasizes the board’s call for train control systems and other backup measures to ensure signal indications are followed and guard against the risks of human error. “Wayside signals and administrative defenses, such as the requirement for train crews to follow signal indications, although usually effective, are not always consistently applied,” the TSB said in a press release. “If train control systems rely only on administrative defenses to ensure the safe operation of trains, signal recognition errors will continue to occur, increasing the risk of train collisions and derailments.” In the incident at Drummondville, Quebec, on Oct. 31, 2018, Montreal-bound VIA train No. 29 passed a red signal on a single-track main line only seconds after opposing train No. 28, bound for Quebec City, had cleared the main line onto a siding. Train No. 29 was traveling at approximately 32 mph when it passed the red signal and, unaware of the error, continued toward Montreal. The full report is available here.

Service resumes on CN main line after derailment in British Columbia
Rail service resumed on Canadian National’s main line through Hope, British Columbia, on Thursday, having repaired damage and cleared the line of wreckage from a 60-car derailment Monday. The Vancouver Sun reports cleanup at the site continues, while water monitoring is continuing upsteam and downstream of the accident site, which spilled potash from the derailed cars into an adjacent stream. Monday’s accident involved a Canadian Pacific train operating on the directional trackage used by both railroads through the Fraser Canyon. The Transporation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the cause of the accident.
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