Four of six troubled rail crossings fixed: VIA
Warning systems at tracks in Barrhaven have malfunctioned nine times in three months
Four of the six trouble-plagued level crossings in Barrhaven are now fixed, VIA rail officials said in a briefing at City Hall on Friday afternoon.
Warning systems at the tracks have malfunctioned nine times in the last three months in the south Ottawa neighbourhood, raising concerns about the safety at the crossings.
Barrhaven councillor Jan Harder said the malfunctions have been more than an inconvenience.
"It is about making sure their families are safe," Harder said.
In one case, the red flashing lights and gates failed to come on when a westbound VIA train was in Barrhaven.
Aaron Branston, the vice-president of engineering for Rail Term, the company working to fix the problems, blamed the malfunctions on a combination of mostly weather-related factors.
Branston described the causes of the malfunctions as a perfect storm of events. He said first the heavy rains in February and March caused water and mud to buildup in the gravel that support the train tracks.
Then there was interference from nearby hydro lines as the load on the lines has increased due to construction nearby. These factors along with frost in the motor at one of the gates caused the malfunctions.
Operations at crossings at Fallowfield Road, Greenbank Road, Jockvale Road and Strandherd Road are expected to return to normal Friday as of 7 p.m.
For crossings located on Woodroffe Avenue and the OC Transpo Transitway, the following temporary measures announced on April 10 remain in effect until further notice:
- personnel will continue to be on-site to provide supplementary support and maintenance to automatic warning devices, and to ensure that motorists and pedestrians stop at each crossing.
- trains will continue to run at reduced speed in this area.
VIA said the final report on the root causes of the malfunctions will come at another briefing on April 30.