Safety Advisory: Visual verification method to ensure secure coupling of rail equipment




Reference number
SA-RW 2018-01

This Safety Advisory is being issued to provincially-regulated railways and is subject to the Railway Act, Railway Safety Act, and associated regulations.

Date of Revision: March 10, 2020



The following advisory is to notify provincially regulated railways of the potential risks associated with coupling to railway equipment when a successful coupling is not made. It is possible that even after conducting a stretch test of the coupling that the coupler pin may not have fully dropped. This can potentially lead to the uncontrolled movement of equipment.


Recommended Actions

Given the risks associated with the uncontrolled movement of equipment initiated by the inadvertent release of a coupling, Technical Safety BC recommends that a railway employee visually inspect the coupling after making a joint between rail cars: 

  • Examine the bottom-operated lock-lift assembly pivot points. If the coupler locking block has dropped into place to secure the knuckle, the pivot points will be horizontally aligned. If the pivot points are not horizontal, the coupler locking block is not in the fully dropped position.

Please note that this visual inspection in no way removes the obligation to conduct a coupling stretch test in compliance with Canadian Rail Operating Rule 113(d). Coupling to Equipment.


Arne Vigen
Technical Leader, Railway
Technical Safety BC

For additional information, please contact Technical Safety BC’s railway program administration at 778 396 2063 or email