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  Quabbin Road crossing, Mallorytown, Ontario
  The above is an animation that was created with the data collected during the Mallorytown investigation .

Published: December 9th 2009
Source: CNW Telbec
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The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) calls for a national standard to prevent collisions between trains and vehicles at Canada's railway crossings.

This recommendation follows TSB's investigation of a collision in 2008 between a passenger train and a lowboy tractor-trailer stopped on a railway crossing in Mallorytown, Ontario. Five of the 214 people aboard the train were injured on impact and the tractor-trailer was destroyed. In its investigation, the TSB found that no signs were installed at the crossing to warn the truck driver that the slope of the road over the crossing was too steep for his truck.

"In the last ten years, there have been four collisions between trucks and trains on this busy railway corridor," said Tom Griffith, Investigator in Charge. "It's time to put clear warning signs where they're needed and take the guesswork out of safety," he added.

Following a similar accident in 2002, Transport Canada worked with road and railway authorities to develop low ground clearance warning signage but a national standard has still not been put in place. While there are low ground clearance signs at some railway crossings, the Board says the design and placement of the signs is inconsistent and, without a national standard, numerous crossings in Canada remain at risk.

Adding to the risk, the Board determined that truck drivers do not receive training about what to do when facing emergencies at railway crossings. In Mallorytown, an emergency contact sign and phone number was posted on a nearby signal box but was not visible. As a result, the railway was not called and the oncoming train was not alerted to stop in time. That's why the TSB also wants driver training requirements strengthened to include handling emergencies at railway crossings.

"The goal is to prevent vehicles from getting stuck at crossings and to ensure drivers know what to do if it happens", said Tom Griffith. "Transport Canada, the railways and the road authorities must work together to identify high-risk crossings, put warning signs where they're needed, and ensure drivers get the information and training they need to avoid accidents", he added.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

This news release, final report R08T0158, and all relevant materials can be found on the TSB website at

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