Rail & Pedestrian Safety
Rail Activity in the City of White Rock
The City of White Rock has a railway that runs through the waterfront which is within meters of a waterfront area which is visited by thousands of people each year. Also, there are business and residential properties that border or are across the street from the rail line. It is a single track rail line operated and used by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) and Amtrak, which offers passenger train services from Seattle, WA to Vancouver, B.C.
The BNSF rail line operates 24 hours per day, which has contributed to pedestrian safety concerns, resulting in near misses and fatalities, in recent years.
At Grade Rail Crossing Improvements
In November 2014, Transport Canada introduced Grade Crossing Regulations. There are several requirements in the regulations, however, most important to the City of White Rock is that seven years after the Grade Crossings Regulations came into force, or by November 2021, railway companies and road authorities must meet all requirements to upgrade existing grade crossings, including signage, crossing surface specifications, sightlines and warning systems.
Transport Canada identified safety concerns with the pedestrian crossings at Finlay Street, Ash Street, Balsam Street, Cypress Street, the Pier and Bay Street. These rail crossings do not meet the new Grade Crossing Regulations. In addition, the two new crossings at Oxford Street and Anderson Street require flashing lights and bells to meet the new Grade Crossing Regulations. To financially assist municipalities in upgrading rail crossings, Transport Canada expanded funding opportunities. The Railway Safety Improvement Program (RSIP) grant contribution agreements have been finalized with the federal government for all of the crossings and the extension of the promenade. The total amount of grant funding approved is $4,158,000. The RSIP funding contributions cover up to 50% of total project design and construction costs for six of the crossings and 80% for two crossings (Oxford and Anderson). In addition, BNSF is contributing 37.5% of the total cost for the six crossing and 12.5% for Oxford and Anderson.
In September 2018, City Council awarded Wilco Civil Inc. the contract for the civil construction of at grade rail crossing improvements at Finlay Street, Ash Street, Balsam Street, Cypress Street, Bay Street, Oxford Street and Anderson Street. Construction of at grade rail crossing at the Pier is awarded to Fricia Construction Inc. as part of the Memorial Park and Pier Washroom Upgrade Contract. In addition, City Council entered into an agreement with BNSF for the construction of the new signals. The improvements include walkway, retaining wall, signage, fence, crossing surface specifications, sightlines and warning system. This project provides much needed rail crossing infrastructure improvements and enables the City and BNSF to apply for whistle cessation.
Preliminary works including survey and mobilization are expected to begin in late Fall 2018.
Rail in the Day
Between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., all trains are ordered to sound repeated short engine whistles regardless of whether or not animals or persons are on the track. This was an Order from Transport Canada on 31 July 2014.
Rail at Night
Between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., a short warning signal is required by each northbound train at the crossing at Finlay Street and for each southbound train at the Bay Street crossing. The engine bell is required to ring continuously between all crossings through White Rock.
Role of Transport Canada
Transport Canada has regulatory oversight by way of various legislation and Acts, rules and regulations regarding rail safety, and dictates public safety initiatives and work that must be done from a legislation and regulatory standpoint.
For more detailed information on rail activity in white rock, please go to "Rail in White Rock."
Since 2013, the City of White Rock and the City of Surrey have held public information meetings to discuss rail safety and relocation, which include the following:
- Rail Safety Open House at White Rock's waterfront (June 15, 2017)
- Community Dialogue on Rail Safety & Dangerous Goods Comment Sheet (July 7, 2014)
- Rail Traffic Safety Open House (November 26, 2013)
Citizens' Forum on Rail Safety | September 21, 2018
On Friday, September 21, 2018, representatives from the Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia, the Cities of White Rock and Surrey, as well as other stakeholders came together to discuss rail safety and public safety concerns at the Citizens' Forum on Rail Safety at the White Rock Community Centre.
Please refer to the rotating photos above to review the information boards that were at the Forum.
- Community Dialogue on Rail Safety & Dangerous Goods Comment Sheet
- City of Surrey and City of White Rock Community Train Forum
- Listen to a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Testimony on the issue of rail safety and rail relocation in White Rock and Surrey. This recording took place on April 18, 2016, at the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in Ottawa.
On June 15, 2017, the City of White Rock held a Rail Safety Open House with representatives from:
- CN Police
- Transport Canada
- Burlington Northern Santa Fe
- And members of White Rock Community Policing
The open house focused on sharing rail safety tips and practices and also had informative displays with conceptual designs of the at-grade rail crossings, the overhead walkway at Coldicutt Ravine, and the promenade extension. We also shared information on what the City of White Rock is doing to accomplish whistle cessation.
- Crossing Number 1 Finlay Street (PDF)
- Crossing Number 2 Conceptual - Ash Street (PDF)
- Crossing Number 3. Balsam Street (PDF)
- Crossing Number 4 Cypress Street (PDF)
- Crossing Number 5 White Rock Pier (PDF)
- Crossing Number 6 Bay Street (PDF)
- Crossing Number 7 Pedestrian Overpass Conceptual Design (PDF)
- More on the Pedestrian Grade Crossings (PDF)
- Pedestrian Grade Crossings (PDF)
- Promenade Extension Conceptual Design (PDF)
Location of Incident
City of White Rock
City of White Rock
City of White Rock
Near City of White Rock
City of Surrey