Kitchener-Waterloo

Man heralded for spotting runaway forklift on GO tracks near Kitchener

Paul Bolger is being called a hero after he called 911 when he saw a forklift had rolled onto train tracks that are used by the GO trains on their way to Kitchener.

GO train was full of commuters on rush hour Toronto-Kitchener run

Paul Bolger noticed a forklift on the train tracks in Breslau Wednesday afternoon. He knew a GO train was scheduled to pass through the area with commuters, so he called 911. Police and Metrolinx say he helped avert a disaster by taking a few minutes to make that call. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

A Waterloo region man is being called a hero for calling 911 after he spotted a forklift on train tracks near Kitchener as a GO train full of commuters barrelled towards it.

At about 5:40 p.m. Wednesday, Paul Bolger was in Breslau, just east of Kitchener, when he spotted a forklift on the train tracks. He told CBC News the back end of the forklift was on the track and it looked to be sitting beside a stack of new railway ties.

No one appeared to be around the forklift, he said.

"I knew the train was coming and I knew something would happen if no one did anything," he said, adding his dad used to commute from Toronto on the train so he knew the schedule for the Kitchener line. 

The Kitchener GO train, which left Union Station at 4:50 p.m., was on the track and was set to pass through the area at about 6:30 p.m.

"Our understanding is the GO train was full of people at the time," Waterloo Regional Police media relations co-ordinator Cherri Greeno told CBC News.

Bolger called 911 and police responded within minutes and moved the forklift.
This forklift was moved off train tracks near Kitchener Wednesday afternoon. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Parking brake not on

Greeno said the preliminary investigation showed the parking brake was not engaged and the forklift rolled backwards onto the tracks.

"We're still investigating and we're attempting to locate the person or company responsible for the forklift," Greeno said.

"We're very thankful to the person who came forward because they took that two minutes to call us and really, in doing so, prevent what could have been a very serious disaster."

Anne Marie Aikins, spokesperson for Metrolinx, also expressed appreciation for Bolger's call.

"A potential disaster was prevented by a citizen who took the time to say something when they saw danger on our tracks," Aikins tweeted Thursday. "They undoubtedly helped save lives."

Bolger said he called because he knew a GO train would be coming through the area soon and he knew it would be a disaster if someone didn't move the forklift.

He doesn't think of himself as a hero.

"I just did what I should have done," he said.

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