Feds announce $187K for railway crossing improvements in London

The federal government has announced up to $186,800 in funding for 10 projects that will improve railway crossings in the Forest City.

The funding includes grass cutting and improved pedestrian safety measures

A Canadian Pacific freight train approaches a level crossing on Richmond Street in London, Ont. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

The federal government has announced up to $186,800 in funding for 10 projects aimed to improve railway crossings in the Forest City.

It's part of a $55-million Railway Safety Improvement Program that will roll out across Canada over the next three years.

London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos made the announcement on behalf of the Ministry of Transportation Friday morning.

"Rail safety is a huge area of concern, it's a priority for this government," Fragiskatos told CBC news.

"[The funding] will go toward various upgrades, including pavement markings, removing vegetation and installing safety signage. All of that is intended to improve safety for pedestrians and for drivers."

Three key railway crossings that will benefit from the funding include the Richmond Street crossing south of Oxford Street, the Highbury Avenue crossing south of Florence Street and the Colborne Street Crossing south of York Street.

Fragiskatos also singled out the William Street crossing south of Pall Mall Street.

"That's important because it ranks as the fourth highest at-risk crossing in all of Canada," he said.

According to Transport Canada, nearly half of all railway-related deaths and injuries are the result of accidents at railway crossings.

Meeting federal safety standards

In a report that went to a City committee last fall, staff identified a wide spectrum of improvements needed to meet new federal safety standards. The cost of the updates was estimated to be around $2 million.

"This is definitely a priority for the City of London, so we're happy that the federal government is providing $187,000 in funding to the City to get these improvements underway," said Doug MacRae, Manager of Transportation, Planning and Design for the City of London.

"We have taken detailed assessments of each crossing to identify what is needed."

MacRae says a lot of the work is set to start in the coming months and will require coordination with the City and the railways. Total funding allocation for the crossing improvements is still being worked out between the City and the railway companies.

Railway Safety Week is happening from September 23 to 29, aiming to increase awareness of safety around railway operations.

From coast to coast, Canada has over 40,000 kilometres of track, moving people and goods across the country every day.