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Rail experts express concern over fatal trespassing trend in Canada


Published: 07/28/2015

by David Ferrer

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Canadian rail experts are concerned by the number of avoidable rail injuries and fatalities that are taking place due to trespassing on the rails.

In 2014, in Canada, there were 58 trespasser accidents that resulted in 36 fatalities and 21 serious injuries. The proportion of trespasser accidents that were fatal (62 per cent) was down compared to last year (76 per cent). However, the number of serious injuries has increased by 48 per cent compared to last year.

“We will not tolerate that individuals put their lives and those of others at risk”, says CN Police Chief Stephen Covey. “Too many people die from injuries sustained while trespassing on railway property in Canada and those fatalities are avoidable. The railway is not a safe place for children to play and it is not safe for adults to take short cuts across it. Safety is very much a shared responsibility if we are to reduce accidents. The public must also do their part in observing the rules at all times. It is important to remember that when you see tracks, think trains.”

Aside from the obvious harm that can be caused to a person trespassing, this behavior causes an enormous amount of emotional distress to locomotive crews. And, sadly, this is a situation they are faced with too often.

CN Police work year-round to reduce trespassing incidents, fatalities and injuries, by conducting safety initiatives at commuter stations, intermodal terminals and railway crossings in Canada and the United States. Rail commuter stations are also visited to target a larger audience of rail users, particularly parents who are urged to pass on safety information to their children. In addition, rail police across the system work to identify the highest risk areas for trespassing and develop targeted strategies to reduce incidents.

In conjunction with organizations such as Operation Lifesaver, CN has been promoting railway safety for more than 25 years through its All Aboard for Safety community education program. Every year, rail police officers make hundreds of All Aboard for Safety presentations and talk to more than 300,000 children and adults at schools and community events in Canada and the United States about the importance of safety and the dangers of walking or playing on or near railway tracks.

If you see unsafe behavior on railway property, do not hesitate to report it by calling CN Police at 1- 800-465-9239, or by contacting local emergency services.

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