Track safety rules

The Rules Respecting Track Safety or Track Safety Rules (TSR) outline the minimum standards and procedures for inspecting and maintaining tracks to ensure the safe operation of railways. As such, the TSR is essential to the regulatory framework for railway safety in BC.

Certification and training for track supervisors and inspectors

Certification and Training of Track Supervisors and Track Inspectors (TSR Part 1, Rule 7)

Rule 7.1

  • Railway companies must qualify and certify Track Supervisors and Track Inspectors in order to ensure they possess the necessary skills, experience and knowledge to inspect tracks for defects or supervise restoration or renewal of track under traffic conditions.
  • Requirements for certification include:
    • Training (practical and theory) 
    • Minimum 1 year experience in railway track inspection or maintenance
    • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the TSR
    • Ability to identify deviations from the TSR requirements
    • Ability to prescribe appropriate remedial action
  • Recertification must be completed at intervals not exceeding three years.

Rule 7.2

  • When tracks are being restored or renewed and workers cannot meet the TSR requirements, Rule 7.2 requires “continuous supervision” by a track supervisor.

Rule 7.3

  • The TSR also contains qualification requirements for employees who authorize movements over a rail brake, these include:
    • Minimum 1 year experience in track maintenance, signal or train operations
    • Training and qualification to identify rail end mismatch, rail defects, condition of track ties, track surface, gauge and alignment defects
    • Minimum 4 hours training plus written examination 
  • Recertification must be completed at intervals not exceeding three years.
Inspection requirements

Inspection (TSR Part 2 Section F)


  • The TSR provides two sets of inspection rules, one for tracks and one for yard tracks. 
  • The required track inspection frequencies are based on train weight, speed, and tonnage. 
  • The TSR requires: special track inspections in the event of potential track damage following natural hazard; visual track inspections; walking track inspections; turnouts and special track work inspections; electronic geometry inspections; rail flaw inspections.
  • The TSR stipulates conditions that prescribe extra precautionary measures for when a portion of track cannot be inspected in accordance with the TSR inspection requirements. 
  • Inactive tracks must be secured to prevent any movement, and may only be used after a safety inspection to ensure the tracks are safe to carry any rail movement.  
Remedial actions for rail and track defects

Remedial Action Requirements

Rail and track defects pose a risk of derailments and other incidents. The TSR has several rules and inspection requirements to mitigate these risks. 

Track defect (Section C. Track Geometry 8. Combined Alignment and Track Surface Deviations)
The combination of multiple minor track defects in near vicinity of each other can pose a greater risk than each individual defect would suggest. Therefore, railway companies must have defined measures that deal with adjacent defects.

Rail defect (Section D. Track Structure 3. Defective Rails)
The rule governing remedial action for rail defects outlines numerous conditions under which movement over defective rail can be allowed. 

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