Canadian Geographic
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Tracking rail

Safety and security

Rail is the safest mode of surface travel in Canada.

Canada’s major railways boast the lowest accident rates in North America. This record has been achieved through a combination of rigorous training and innovative technology.

Modern trains are equipped with on-board computer systems that monitor critical components for early signs of problems. By alerting the engineer and other personnel to potentially overheating wheels, defective bearings, worn brake pads or other equipment failures, these monitoring systems improve both safety and fuel efficiency.

During the past decade, Transport Canada has invested more than $100 million to install active warning systems at major road crossings. These systems employ lights, bells and crossing gates to alert drivers and pedestrians of an approaching train. In an effort to provide comparable systems at the nation’s 28,500 low-volume crossings (such as farm roads), Transport Canada is developing a low-cost, solar-powered system that uses Doppler radar technology and ultrasonic presence detection to identify an approaching train and activate a set of LED lights.

More than 60 trains cross the U.S. border every day. To address security concerns related to that traffic, Canada has installed gamma-ray imaging systems that scan every rail car as it approaches the border. The VACIS system enables trained inspectors to see the contents of closed rail cars through more than 15 centimetres of steel. Images of each rail car are saved, along with a high-resolution digital video snapshot of the car identification number. These images can be electronically compared with subsequent images of the same rail car to detect weapons, contraband or stowaways.


This piece allows users to click to view statistics about rail safety in Canada, which is supported by a line graph. Users can also click to learn about the Operation Lifesaver program, which is explained through a series of photos, supported by narration.


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Quiz :

When was the first truly intermodal container system created?