Backgrounders

Backgrounder for the Release of the Final Report into the Fatal Crossing Accident in Brockville, Ontario, in 2005

On February 17, 2005, a Canadian National (CN) freight train, proceeding eastward on the CN Kingston Subdivision, struck two pedestrians at the Bartholomew Street public crossing (Mile 124.88), Brockville, Ontario. One pedestrian was fatally injured; the second received serious injuries. The two pedestrians stepped into the path of the eastward train after the passage of a westward train. The Board determined that the two pedestrians stepped into the path of the eastward train while their concentration was fixed on a passing westbound train. Although the vehicular automated warning devices activated as designed, the lack of restriction of pedestrian access to the tracks, and the absence of additional visual and audible alarm when a subsequent train entered the crossing circuit contributed to the accident.

Ten years earlier, a similar accident had resulted in the deaths of two school age individuals at the Park Street railway crossing in Brockville (report R95D0055). In 1996, the Board recommended that:

The Department of Transport, in cooperation with the railways, the provincial and local authorities, implement, on a priority basis, a program to upgrade the pedestrian protection systems on those multiple-track main-line crossings in populated areas warranting immediate attention. (R96-14, issued December 1996)

At the time of the 2005 occurrence, no improvements had been made to the pedestrian protection at crossings in Brockville by either CN or the municipality. On April 27, 2005, the Board issued Rail Safety Advisory (RSA) 04/05 to Transport Canada (TC), suggesting the identification of other locations where similar situations exist and the implementation of enhanced pedestrian crossing protection. In addition, on May 5, 2005, the Board issued a second advisory (RSA 05/05) to address the obstructed sightlines at the Bartholomew Street crossing due to a signal bungalow. In response to RSA 05/05, a safety assessment of the grade crossings in Brockville was conducted by representatives of TC, CN and the City of Brockville.

The public reports, R05T0030 and R95D0055, the Communiqué and photos are also available on this site.