Vermilion is joining communities across North America today in recognizing the beginning of Rail Safety Week.
Mayor, Caroline McAuley proclaimed September 21- 27 as rail safety week in Vermilion, and along with council, urges residents to look out for each other near railways and work together to keep the community safe.
“A railway runs right through our community–some with dangerous loads, so it’s always important for residents to understand that it’s really difficult to stop a train going full bore and to be mindful walking and crossing,” said McAuley.
“It’s an important way of transporting goods across our country and we will see more rail traffic coming in the future with the addition of a G3 facility.”
CN Manager of Public Affairs for Western Canada, Tyler Banick, said that last year in Canada, 230 rail trespassing incidents at grade crossings were reported, and those incidents resulted in 66 deaths.
“Sadly, most of these incidents could have been prevented had those involved chosen to respect rail safety practices,” said Banick.
“These incidents leave families in grief and train crews dealing with trauma.”
Vermilion CAO, George Rogers, said the community continues to work with Operation Lifesaver, local authorities, CN Police Service officers and other CN employees as a preventative measure to ensure everyone’s safety on and around railroad infrastructure year-round.
Operation Lifesaver says that most collisions between vehicles and trains occur within 40 kilometres of a driver’s home, and 66 per cent occur at crossings where active warning devices (gates, lights, bells) are present. With approximately 40,000 railway crossings in Canada, they recommend for people to always obey railway signs and signals.
Almost 45,000 kilometres of active railway tracks span from coast to coast, and fines for trespassing on railway property can reach up to $50,000 but vary between provinces.
If your car happens to stall or get stuck on railway tracks they say to get out of your vehicle, move at least 30 metres from the tracks and call 9-1-1 or look for the railway company’s emergency number posted on the back of the crossbuck.