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State of Safety 2019 - Railways




Technical Safety BC regulates railways that operate solely within British Columbia and have a certificate issued by the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Provincial railways are subject to the British Columbia Railway Act, Railway Safety Act and adopted federal railway safety legislation. We regulate five different classes of railways: common carrier, heritage, commuter, industrial, and industrial sidings and spurs.

Key statistics


incidents reported to us


injuries reported to us


physical audits of Railways


In 2019 the number of incidents related to railways increased by 29 (18%) compared to 2018.

We continued railway awareness and engagement activities through our partnership with Operation Life Saver and Rocky Mountaineer during BC’s Rail Safety Week. Our message to British Columbians was to exercise caution and follow the rules around railways, which we shared via social media and at a Rail Safety Week event at Renfrew Station.

Railway incidents in 2019



In 2019, 15 injuries related to railways were reported us, three of which were fatal. One was attributed to suicide, one resulted from passenger and train contact (non-suicide), and the last fatality was due to a collision between a garbage truck and train.

Please note that we receive injury reports and descriptions from operators or first responders at the time of, or immediately following, the incident. Injuries may develop after the initial reports were made to us and the long-term effects of a resultant injury may not be recorded as part of our investigation.

Railway injuries in 2019



Technical Safety BC does not issue railway installation permits.


Assessments and audits

Our railway safety officers assess and audit all operating railways in compliance with the applicable acts, regulations, rules, and guidelines. Railway operations are also audited against their required safety management systems. The Railway Safety Program issues recommendations as a result of these audits.

Technical Safety BC safety officers completed 150 assessments and audits of rail equipment in 2019. There is minimal fluctuation annually in our railway data due to our robust audit model and limited growth in BC’s rail industry. The reduction of severe hazard ratings in 2019 is due in part to the growing use of the enforcement tools available under the Railways Safety Act.

Assessments are rated as follows:

Note: Unlike some other technologies we regulate, Railways does not have a Conditional Pass category.

Railway assessments and audits in 2019