+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 25-99F

Rail Car Reflectorization

January 1, 1999
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2002
Active Status:
Vote Results:

WHEREAS public notice was received from Canadian Pacific Railway stating that longer trains will be running on all main lines;AND WHEREAS there are many uncontrolled crossings on the main lines; AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada in 1960 instituted a subsidy program to the railway companies to place reflective material on a stipulated number of existing rail cars each year and the federal subsidy program was dropped in 1989;AND WHEREAS the United States is endeavoring to develop legislation requiring the use of reflective material on rail cars;AND WHEREAS there does not seem to be any progress since a similar resolution was passed in 1997 to which the government response was that this issue was currently being evaluated;AND WHEREAS there are accidents of vehicles running into trains during the night at uncontrolled crossings, and there is a need for improved visibility of trains at night;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the federal Department of Transport to place high priority on updating current regulations to improve night visibility of all rail cars and locomotives.

Member Background:

Public notice from Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) stated that new, more powerful locomotives are allowing them to pull more cars and run longer trains. These longer trains are providing CPR with greater efficiency and productivity. The notice further stated that: CPR will be running longer trains on all mainlines. 50% of the trains on any given day will be slightly longer. Some trains will be up to 1/3 longer; trains may be as long as 2,750 metres (9,000), which is up to 610 metres (2,000) longer than some of the trains operated before. CPR has operated trains of up to 2,750 metres (9,000) in the past, carrying all types of freight. The difference is now that they will be running longer trains more frequently, as part of a regular operating practice. CPR will reduce the number of trains it operates overall by carrying more cars on their trains.Rail lines are governed by federal regulations. CPR indicated that their decision to run longer trains will not change the rules at level crossings. There are no federal legislation or regulations regarding reflectorization in Canada.An accident occurred in Mountain View County five years ago when a vehicle travelling at night ran into a freight train and was dragged five miles. This accident occurred on a spur line at an uncontrolled level crossing. The train was not visible at night until it was too late for the vehicle to stop. There are eight uncontrolled crossings on the main line in Mountain View County.A similar resolution was approved at the 1997 AAMD&C Fall Convention. The government response refers to a U.S. report that was to be available later in 1997 and which Transport Canada would be reviewing to determine if additional measures are warranted. Transport Canada also indicated that it was investigating a number of areas where potential improvements could be made to improve safety at crossings with no automated warning signals.This resolution responds to the safety concerns resulting from long trains where the beginning and end cannot be seen. It is important that night traffic can determine in sufficient time to stop when there is a train on the crossing. Reflective striping designed in a manner to indicate that a train is at the crossing, either in motion or standing still, is required to improve safety conditions.

Federal Ministries and Bodies:
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