Rail officials warn trespassers, illegal crossers of train danger

The Essex Terminal Railway is warning people who trespass into rail yards and illegally climb over barriers at a crossing their actions could be deadly.

Train Safety


6 years ago
Essex Terminal Railway is asking people to stop trespass into rail yards and illegally climbing over barriers at a crossings. 1:01

The Essex Terminal Railway is warning people who trespass into rail yards and illegally climb over barriers at a crossing that their actions could be deadly. 

"You get the impatient person and they are not thinking, they think the train is not going to move again, but trains move at any time and someone who gets caught in that position, it could be fatal for them," said Ivan Pratt, the assistant superintendent, Essex Terminal Railway (ETR). 

The warning comes on the 13th year of Rail Safety Week in Canada. 

Ivan Pratt, the assistant superintendent, Essex Terminal Railway, says people sneaking into rail yards through the fence or illegally crossing tracks while barriers are down should know their actions are dangerous. (Aadel Haleem/CBC)

According to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, in 2014 there were 21 people who died at a railway crossing and 36 who died while trespassing along rail lines. 

ETR also said far too often they find young people walking in the middle of tracks with headphones on, which could be dangerous. 

Pratt said trespassers are not fooling him. He knows how they get on the rail yard.

"What better way to cross railway property than make a hole in the fence, cut through, and away I go and I'm going to either crawl underneath the rail cars or I'm going to come and climb across the end instead of going a short distance down to the crossing and crossing safely," said Pratt. 

Pratt warns people on a daily basis, but he said it seems to not make a difference.

"They just view it as a shortcut and away they go, but yet they are trespassing, they are committing a criminal offence and they are putting themselves in a very dangerous situation," he said. 

Train facts 

  • An average freight train travelling at 100 km/h needs about 2 km to stop. 
  • The majority of highway/railway collisions happen when the train is travelling less than 50 km/h.
  • About 50 per cent of vehicle vs train collisions happen at crossings with active warning devices such as gates, lights and bells.
  • Most collisions happen within 40 km of a driver's home.
  • A driver is 40 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another vehicle.

Facts are taken from the Operation Life Saver website.


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