Railways

All BC railways must comply with the safety regulations for their railway class. It’s also important to understand how the regulation process below applies to you.

Definitions & Provincial Guidelines

Industrial Railway Safety Regulations Guidelines: Industrial Railways exclusively serve and move railway equipment through track switches at an industrial site or as designated by the authority having administrative responsibility.

Industrial Sidings and Spur Safety Regulations Guidelines: Industrial Sidings and Spurs Railways exclusively serve and move railway equipment at an industrial site or as designate by the authority having administrative responsibility.

Heritage Railway Safety Regulation Guidelines:  Heritage Railways operate or move only railway equipment of historical significance.

Common Carrier Safety Regulations Guidelines: Common Carrier Railways transport passengers and/or goods and interchanges common rolling stock with other railways.

Commuter Railway Safety Regulations Guidelines: Commuter Railways exclusively provide rail transportation for passengers in or between urban and/or suburban locations.

Regulating Railways – The Process

When a railway car is moved on provincial land, it is subject to the Railway Act of British Columbia. Companies with operations that move railway equipment are required under provincial legislation to become certified railways. Failure to do so, may lead to actions and penalties as described within provincial railway legislation.

The British Columbia Safety Authority (BCSA) administers railway safety legislation by agreement on behalf of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI).

  1. Minister’s Certificate
    Once identified the operation must apply for a Minister’s Certificate from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and pay all required fees. The BCSA will assist in the process by reviewing the application for compliance and will make recommendations for approval and issuance of the certificate. Railways operating under the Canada Marine Act or Mines Act (BC) are exempt.
    Minister's Certificate Template
    Application for Railway Name Change Template
  2. Safety Management System
    Once a Minister’s Certificate has been issued, the railway is now required to develop and submit to the Minister for approval a Safety Management System (SMS) specific to that railway operation. The BCSA will assist in the process by reviewing the Safety Management System for compliance and will make recommendations for approval by the Minister.
    Railway Safety Management System Guidelines: For Provincial Railways

  3. Operating Permit
    Once a railway has received a Minister’s Certificate and has an approved Safety Management System the BCSA will recommend to the Registrar of Railway Safety of the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure that an Operating Permit be issued to the railway.

    Note: Once a railway has obtained a Minister’s Certificate an approved Safety Management System and an Operating Permit; it becomes subject to regulatory oversight by the BCSA Railway Safety Program and is subject to all legislation and associated fees.

  4. Railway Accident and Incident Reporting
    To understand what, and how to report, review our Accident / Incident Reporting Guidelines for Provincial Railways

  5. Applying for Minister Approval of Standards or Filing a Notice of Construction, Extensions or Exemption
    Railways that wish to construct, extend their railway operations or apply for regulatory exemptions, should review:
    Application for Minister's Approval of Construction Template
    Notification for Alteration or Extension of a Railway Template
    Guideline on Applying for Exemption

Additional Information

The BCSA Railway Program is the regulator for provincial railways. All provincial railways must comply with the safety criteria specified in the provincial, and in the provincially-adopted, federal legislative requirements.

These requirements call for railway companies to operate and maintain their railway systems within an approved set of safety standards. Railway Safety Inspectors carry out a safety compliance program of operating and maintenance audits of each provincially-regulated railway system.

The information provided above allows provincial railways to meet their legal obligations.