What municipalities and road safety stakeholders need to know about snow clearing around road-rail level crossings: Highlights from a recent Transportation Safety Board (TSB) investigation (2018)

By Christina Rudin-Brown, Ph.D, CCPE Dr. Christina (Missy) Rudin-Brown has been a Senior Human Factors Investigator since joining the TSB in 2012 and is currently Manager of the TSB’s Human Factors and Macro Analysis Division.

Full Article in the Fall 2019 Edition of the Safety Network Newsletter


On the morning of 9 January 2018, a CN freight train proceeding eastward struck a snowplow on the sidewalk at the Colborne Street public crossing in London, Ontario. The lone snowplow operator was fatally injured. The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) investigation found that the collision occurred when the snowplow travelled onto the railway crossing while clearing snow from the sidewalk. Although the crossing warning devices and the train’s horn activated while the snowplow was in the crossing, the operator did not detect the oncoming train. The investigation also found that the contractor and subcontractor involved in this occurrence did not provide formal training to their employees on safe working practices when clearing snow at railway crossings. Following this occurrence, the City of London modified its requirements for snowplow operators employed by its sidewalk snow-clearing contractors.