Safety Advisory: Car mover weight transfer system and employees working in between equipment

Safety Advisory

Safety Advisory: Car mover weight transfer system and employees working in between equipment

April 7, 2020

Safety Advisory

Reference Number:

SA-RW 2020-01

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



Car Mover – a road–rail vehicle (capable of travelling on both roads and rail tracks) fitted with couplers for moving small numbers of railroad cars around in a rail siding or small yard.

Three-Point Protection (Car Mover) – a means of protecting employees working between equipment, requiring the car mover operator to apply full parking brake, apply full service brake, and place the transmission in neutral, until instructed by the employee requesting three-point protection that s/he is clear of the equipment.

Weight Transfer System – a system that allows the car mover operator to maximize the amount of weight that is transferred from a railcar to the car mover, regardless of whether the railcar is fully loaded, partially loaded or empty. 



There is a hazard to safe railway operations if the weight transfer system on certain types of car moving equipment is engaged while an employee is working between equipment. Using the weight transfer system in manual mode to lower the knuckle while an employee is working in between equipment creates the risk of the railcar moving, potentially leading to injury. The weight transfer system should not be engaged when three-point protection has been provided to the employee entering into the pinch point between the car mover and a railcar.


Recommended actions

Prior to securing railcars attached to a car mover, or providing an employee with protection to enter in between equipment, the car mover operator should deactivate the weight transfer system function, transferring all borrowed weight back to the railcar(s). Doing so will ensure the railcars are secured in their natural state and are not manipulated in any way by the car mover.

Once the weight transfer system is deactivated, three-point protection can then be provided, with the additional confirmation that the car mover’s hydraulics have been locked out. Please note this form of protection only applies to railcar moving equipment equipped with a weight transfer “lock-out” option.

Car mover operators are reminded not to operate the car mover or any of its functions until three-point protection has been cancelled. Only the employee who requested the three-point protection has the authority to request the cancellation of three-point protection.

All affected provincially regulated railways must educate their employees and edit their safe work procedures/GOIs to reflect this railway safety advisory. Failure to provide adequate protection to employees working in the vicinity of equipment that may be coupled to or moved may result in enforcement measures being taken against the railway.


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