CN Rail police are urging outdoor enthusiasts not to use train tracks as a playground. Sergeant Paul Leaden says, for example, people on snowmobiles sometimes travel alongside the tracks. Another concern is people who cross the tracks on foot to take a shortcut to their destination. He says not only are these activities illegal, they are simply not safe.
"You are putting your own safety in jeopardy if you are trespassing on rail property. There is the obvious danger of the train itself which can strike you. But there are a lot of hidden dangers that people don't realize such as, the tracks can shift, they are controlled remotely from a rail traffic control centre, so if your foot or your hands are in and around the tracks at the switch point, they can shift and cause injury to you. Passing trains, if you're in proximity, unfortunately, sometimes, might have a chain come loose or a strap come loose that can hit you. You can have ballast rock or other things shoot out from underneath the train which can hit you if you are in close proximity."
Leaden says people who have not heeded safety warnings in the past and who have been injured, often tell CN police they never thought it would happen to them. He says it is very important that people get the message to not take any risks around train tracks.
Sergeant Leaden also has a message to motorists during the winter.
"A lot of things change in terms of stopping distances, in some cases sight lines can be reduced with inclement weather and blowing snow. We just want to remind people when they are on approach to railway crossings, to take that extra time to slow down and stop and make sure they check both ways and ensure that they are not proceeding before it is safe to do so."