The Canadian National Railway Company (CN) has identified potential safety issues in Burns Lake.
In a letter recently sent to village council, CN is proposing to meet with municipal staff to discuss work potentially required to address “certain items of potential concern.”
Since new federal grade crossing regulations were introduced in 2014, CN has been collaborating with communities across its network to comply with new requirements aimed at improving grade crossing safety.
However, CN would not comment on what those areas of concern are.
“As mentioned in the letter sent to Burns Lake and following those new federal regulations, we will plan a meeting with the community officials to discuss those issues,” said Alexandre Boulé, a CN spokesperson, last week.
Boulé said CN is currently reviewing the vast majority of the crossings on its network.
“We will continue to engage with Burns Lake to fully assess which crossings are impacted by those new regulations,” Boulé said. “Therefore, some discussions are needed to identify exactly what are the improvements required.”
While the Village of Burns Lake has no specific concerns with the existing infrastructure, Valerie Anderson, the village’s deputy corporate officer, said the village is always seeking to increase rail safety at the crossing and along the rail line.
Anderson said the village has already submitted specific information to CN regarding the local crossing, but that no meeting has been held with CN representatives to discuss this topic yet.
The deadline for regulatory compliance is Nov. 28, 2021.
Boulé said the federal regulations will bring a consistent level of safety to all railway crossings in Canada while clarifying the roles and responsibilities of railway companies, road authorities and private land owners.
In the letter to council, CN says the costs of any required work would be shared in accordance with each party’s responsibility at the crossing, adding safety is a “shared responsibility.”
“Safety is a shared responsibility and grade crossings present a very good illustration of this reality,” states the letter. “By enabling the coexistence of road and rail traffic, grade crossings facilitate the flow of persons and goods, supporting the lives of Canadians and the economy.”
CN police constable Jamie Thorne told Burns Lake council in 2017 that Burns Lake sees an average of 24 trains per day, or one train per hour, and that the frequency of trains was expected to rise after improvements to the Port of Prince Rupert.