Trespassing on railway tracks

CN Rail has been sending its enforcement personnel around periodically for years to remind people to stay away from the tracks, except to cross – carefully – at designated crossings. The message always comes with the warning that tickets can be issued for trespassing.

One time we can recall the ‘CN cop’ standing at the Main St. crossing in Slave Lake, having a word with all the high school students that were parading down the tracks into downtown at lunchtime. They were shocked to learn they were breaking the law, and for a while you saw less of it.

What’s the big deal, you might ask. People the world over use railway tracks as convenient footpaths. When a train comes, they clear off – simple as that.

Except it’s not quite that simple, is it? Canada – one of the best-regulated, least-crowded and most law-abiding countries in the world, saw 53 deaths on railway tracks last year, according to CN, and 72 serious injuries.

It will come as no surprise that in the country as crowded as India, it gets a lot worse. Some reports say about 15,000 people per year die in rail accidents, one way or another.

There are of course other risks associated with railways; environmental catastrophe is one of them. Railway companies have a lot to answer for in that area, but the campaign for crossing safety is quite valid. Stay safe.

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