The Five-Minute Rule

There is no legal limit to the length of time that a train may block a road. However, as of 2014, federal regulations limit the extent to which shunting and idling operations may block roads. The relevant law, referred to colloquially as the “five-minute rule”, is Section 97(2) of the Grade Crossing Regulations (, which says:

It is prohibited for railway equipment to be left standing on a crossing surface, or for switching operations to be conducted, in a manner that obstructs a public grade crossing — including by the activation of the gate of a warning system — for more than five minutes when vehicular or pedestrian traffic is waiting to cross it.

If a train is blocking a road, please take video of the train for as long as possible.

If you believe the 5-minute rule has been violated, please call the Transport Canada Pacific Region When you call the  Transport Canada Pacific Region Office for Rail Services, tell them you have video and ask how to send it.