Rail Safety Week is drawing to a close in Canada, and officials with CN Rail are encouraging everyone to be "rail smart".
The message comes as people appear to have become increasingly distracted this year because of the many concerns around COVID-19, according to Steve Covey, CN Rail's Chief Security Officer and Chief of Police.
"It means staying alert when you approach a rail crossing," said Covey. "Stop, look and listen to see if a train is coming before you proceed. If there are signals are sounds that alert you that a train is coming, maybe crossbars are coming down, don't take a chance with your life."
As well, he says it is illegal to be on rail property, adding there is no valid reason to be on the tracks except at designated crossings.
Covey explained the average freight train takes at least two kilometres to come to a complete stop when travelling at full speed. He added a freight train's large stature can also deceive the eye into thinking its farther away and travelling much slower than it actually is, when in fact it could be chugging along at up to 90 km/h. He noted freight trains are also deceptively quiet.
According to Covey, there were 114 rail incidents in Canada between January and the start of September this year, resulting in 22 serious injuries and 26 fatalities.
"Obviously we're talking not about statistics, but also about actual lives and all of the people around them that have been impacted such as families, friends and even train crews," he said, noting every one of the incidents could have been avoided if people had remained focused, obeyed the laws and not trespassed on rail property.Click here to see more...