Do you have rail sense? That’s the challenge Canadian Pacific (CP) is posing to the public on the first official day of summer. Hot weather can encourage outdoor exploration and that can lead to dangerous encounters with railway property. Last year, hundreds of incidents involving people and trains left devastating effects on families, communities and railway employees.

In 2017, 141 crossing incidents led to 19 fatalities and 21 serious injuries. As well, 81 trespasser incidents resulted in 53 fatalities and 23 serious injuries.

CP is dedicated to educating people about train operations to ensure people have adequate knowledge to be situationally aware around trains. Through CP’s RailSense program and partnerships with CP Police, other policing agencies, communities, schools and advocacy groups, like Operation Lifesaver, the goal is to make people young and old think of lifelong consequences that can arise when tragedies occur on the tracks.

“We ask everyone to consider their own safety and reconsider reasons that may bring them to railway property,” said Laird Pitz CP senior vice-president and chief risk officer. “Through education and collaboration we can prevent these incidents from occurring, preventing tragic consequences for families, friends and communities.”

The RailSense challenge is simple: recognize how outdoor activities can quickly become dangerous and share the message. A simple share on social media or conversation with a neighbour could save a life.

“Railway tracks are not an extension of a public pathway, nor are they a safe or legal shortcut,” said Ken Marchant, CP police chief and Operation Lifesaver board member. “Rail safety requires ongoing vigilance every minute of every day. Each year both crossing accidents and trespassing result in serious injuries and all too often loss of life. By working together we can make a difference when we use RailSense.”

“Whether you’re out walking, biking, skateboarding or riding an ATV this summer, be sure to exercise RailSense,” added Sarah Mayes, Operation Lifesaver national director. “That means staying well away from tracks and trains, and remembering to look, listen, live at designated railway crossings. Those simple steps could save your life.”

Quick tips:

  • Don’t bike down or near railway tracks
  • Don’t use railway tracks or the adjoining right-of-way as an ATV path
  • Never walk on railway bridges
  • Keep your dog on leash at all times around railway property
  • Only cross tracks at designated crossings. Railway lines are private property, and walking on them constitutes trespassing. The only safe, legal place to cross a rail line is at a marked grade crossing.
  • Every rail crossing in North America has a 24-hour toll-free emergency number posted. If you ever see something unsafe around the tracks, call immediately.
  • If you’re concerned about someone’s mental health and their interest in train tracks call your nearest mental health support line to get them help.
  • If your vehicle is stalled on the tracks get out, get away. Call the emergency number on the crossing or 911.

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