Chilliwack – The TSB, Transportation Safety Board issued a release on the safety of the Broadway Street railway crossing.
On May 26, 2018, a Canadian National Railway (CN) freight train travelling westward through Chilliwack, struck and fatally injured a pedestrian in a motorized wheelchair at the Broadway Street public crossing.
Matthew Jarvis’s wheelchair had become immobilized on the crossing. Two motorists, who had stopped at the crossing, exited their vehicles to assist the pedestrian before the collision; one of them was struck by the train and sustained serious injuries.
Julie Callaghan will have to have her hand amputated. She was fighting with the health Ministry over the cost of a prosthetic. It wasn’t until she went to Global News and it became a Province-wide TV story, that Health Minister Adrian Dix stepped in, although he noted that incidents like this were always reviewed on a case by case basis.
The investigation determined that the motorized wheelchair became immobilized when the pedestrian, who was travelling southbound, stopped with the rear wheels on the south rail, then moved the motorized wheelchair in the opposite direction. As a result, both rear caster wheels likely rotated and fell into the 103 mm gap at the crossing, known as a flangeway, between the sidewalk and the rail. The investigation also found that impending changes (effective in 2021) to designated crossings, as required by Transport Canada’s (TC) Grade Crossings Standards, would reduce the maximum flangeway width to 75 mm. This reduction, however, would be insufficient to ensure that caster wheels of 50 mm, such as those involved in this accident, do not become lodged in the flangeway.
Following this accident, TC issued a notice of non-compliance to CN that identified a number of safety concerns with the Broadway Street public crossing. TC also issued a notice to the City of Chilliwack concerning issues with the sidewalks and road approaches. In response the city arranged for an engineering assessment of the crossing and subsequently coordinated the completion of improvement work scheduled for summer 2019.
See the TSB investigation page for more information.