Program Will Improve Visibility at Rail Crossings

Department of Transportation and Public Works, Nova Scotia

A provincial program to put reflective material on warning signs at uncontrolled highway/rail crossings will improve safety throughout Nova Scotia.

The program involves the application of reflective material on the front and back of signposts at 54 uncontrolled crossings (crossings that do not have gates or flashing lights) that are under provincial jurisdiction. The reflective material will also be applied to the back of the railway crossing sign at the top of the signpost.

Studies have indicated that motorists approaching a crossing at night may not see a train on the track in front of them. Their headlights shining through the passing train, however, will reflect off the reflective material on the back of the sign on the far side of the track and create a strobe effect that will register with most drivers.

"Although there haven't been any fatalities at these crossings in recent years we do average two or three collisions annually," said Ron Russell, Minister of Transportation and Public Works. "Announcing this program now helps us to acknowledge the start of national Rail Safety Public Awareness Week which begins today, April 25."

The province is working with both the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway and the Windsor & Hantsport Railway on this project. These short-line railways are installing the materials supplied by the province.

"The Windsor & Hantsport Railway supports this initiative as we continue to work at improving safety at railway crossings," said Jim Taylor, general manager of the Windsor & Hantsport Railway. "I would like to commend the provincial government for taking this initiative, which will undoubtedly improve safety."

"Last year, there were 92 fatalities and 84 serious injuries involving the public along the railway tracks in Canada," said Dan Di Tota, national director of Operation Lifesaver, a national program to reduce highway and railway crossing collisions. "Virtually all were avoidable with due caution."

The Department of Transportation and Public Works is responsible for the administration of the provincial Railways Act. Its highways division manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in Nova Scotia. It maintains 4,100 bridges and operates seven provincial ferries. Staff provide services from district offices in Bridgewater, Bedford, Truro and Sydney.

Contact Information:

Stephen Newson
Transportation and Public Works

Dan Di Tota
Operation Lifesaver

Steve Smith
Transportation and Public Works