GIO Rail

The City of Port Colborne moves full steam ahead with railway crossing improvements in collaboration with GIO Rail, as a continued commitment to improving infrastructure across the City.

Working in conjunction with GIO Rail, the goal is to improve the quality and safety of railway crossings. Both parties play an important role; the City is responsible for road surfaces; and GIO Rail is responsible for the railway tracks. By forming this partnership and working together, it ensures roads, sidewalks and railway tracks are sustainably built and functional, with the needs of both residents and train operators in mind.  

“We’re definitely getting on the right track for infrastructure improvements,” said Mayor Bill Steele. “If we don’t work together, we run the risk of derailing each other’s efforts. As we’ve experienced in the past, the City may complete a road resurfacing project one year, only to have GIO Rail make an improvement a few years later. That’s not an efficient or cost-effective way to approach infrastructure solutions. Now that we’re working together, we can plan and budget accordingly; it’s a win-win situation.”

Last year, the railway crossing at Sugarloaf Street at Elm Street was updated as a part of the City’s 2020 strategic plan. Construction was completed by Accurate Railroad Construction Ltd. in partnership with GIO Rail and involved upgrading to an OMNI Improved-Concrete system which incorporates rubber rail guard panels with precast concrete panels. This technique is preferable for heavy traffic locations and has been well received by the community. Next on the list is the railway crossing at Steele Street and Park Street, with construction expected to begin late Spring 2021.

“GIO Rail is committed to keeping a safe operation for its employees, all customers, and the residents of Port Colborne but we also want to make sure that the infrastructure is aesthetically pleasing,” said Neil Johnson, Vice-President GIO Rail. “The Sugarloaf Street at Elm Street crossing is a great example of a well-built road crossing that will have great longevity in terms of repair and maintenance but also is very appealing to the eye. We understand that we have a lot to accomplish in the coming years, but with strategic planning with Mayor Steele and all the stakeholders we will be able to make significant advances year over year.”

Photo (left to right): Mayor Bill Steele, CAO Scott Luey and Vice-President GIO Rail Neil Johnson at the Steele Street and Park Street railway crossing.