by Chris Pickup
Ten uncontrolled grade (level) rail crossings in Haldimand County were fitted with stop signs in 2011 at the behest of Transport Canada, but council never passed the bylaws to make them enforceable.
The ten are on Ramsey Drive, Bird Road, McLaughlin Road, Bartlett Road, Comfort Road, Hutchinson Road, Gore A Road and Feeder Canal Road, on the Canadian Pacific line, and Concessions 8 and 9 Walpole on the southern Ontario Railway line. All are rural roads except Bartlett which is unmaintained, and urban Ramsey.
There are another ten uncontrolled crossings that have no stop signs at all.
Haldimand is host to 54 rail crossings on its two main rail lines. The Southern Ontario Railway (SOR) line runs from Brantford into Caledonia and down to Nanticoke. Canadian Pacific railway runs southwest through Dunnville and down to the industry section at Port Maitland.
Of the 54, two are under Ministry of Transportation jurisdiction, five are shared with neighbouring municipalities and the remaining 47 are under Haldimand County jurisdiction.
Transport Canada developed new grade crossings regulations under the Railway Safety Act in 2014. A grade crossing is defined as an intersection where a road or path crosses railway tracks at the same level. They required road authorities and railway companies to share safety information by 2016, which the county complied with.
The county is now in the process of meeting the new regulations and staff has recommended the county pass bylaws to make the stop signs enforceable as well as evaluate the other ten uncontrolled grade crossings and all other grade crossings.