Canadian Pacific Police services were out and about all across the CP system educating the public this past week on issues of safety around the railway tracks.
Andy Cummings, spokesperson for Canadian Pacific, "basically, there are a couple of simple messages we want the public to understand. The first is when you approach a grade crossing, it's very important to look both ways and to obey active warning devices which would be gates, lights, bells, that sort of thing. When you are approaching a crossing that's not equipped with active warning devices be sure to slow down and look both ways. Trains can't stop quickly, the law states that motorists need to be the ones to yield to trains and that does require slowing down, looking both ways and listening for trains."
"The second key thing that we really want the public to understand is that railway property is private property and when people trespass on railway property they are putting their lives in danger. It's both dangerous and illegal. We've seen a trend where some people are taking selfies on the tracks or doing photo shoots on the tracks. People don't realize how dangerous that is, but tragically people are seriously injured and killed in instances like this. We've seen instances where people take selfies on the tracks and professional photographers also, unfortunately, take their clients on the tracks. I think they look at it, see that vanishing point of the rails going to the horizon and they think of it as a good backdrop. More importantly, professional photographers who engage in this are putting their clients in danger and risking arrest of their clients. Private individuals who do it for purpose of taking selfies, for example, are often distracted by their phone and they're not paying attention. Trains can be quieter than you think when they're coming from behind you, sometimes you don't hear them. When we see incidents like that, we see every one of those as preventable and we say simply stay off the tracks and there's no need for these tragedies to be happening."
Cutting across the tracks at any place other than marked crossings is trespassing and illegal.
"The only legal, safe place to cross railway line is at a marked grade crossing. There are private crossings and trail crossings, those types of crossings are also where people can legally cross. In Canada last year there were 141 grade crossing accidents that caused 19 fatalities and 21 serious injuries. There were 81 trespassing incidents that lead to 53 fatalities and 23 serious injuries. When we see those numbers we believe every one of those is preventable. Looking forward we want the public to understand that they can make safe decisions and that those decisions are right for their family and right for our train crews, who of course have to be involved in these incidents when they occur and it can have a real impact on them as well. Trains cannot stop quickly so it critical that the public when approaching railway lines "
"A marked grade crossing is any point at which a road or trail crosses a railway line and there's going to be a marking that's going to have the railway crossing signal, which we call a crossbuck, that X shaped sign. Some of them will have active warning devices but they will be marked as a crossing. They will have an 800 number you can call if your vehicle was to ever stall on the railway crossing, get away from the scene and then call that number to let us know that it's there and we will take actions to make sure we are doing our part to prevent that collision."
The Canadian Pacific police officers have been going to schools and a variety of other places throughout Canada to speak about rail safety and how to make the best decision when around railway tracks to stay safe.