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CN pushes safe snowmobiling

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“Don’t put your life on our line” is the message CN once again is sending out to the public to hammer home the point that not only is riding a snowmobile on a railroad’s right-of-way illegal, it’s dangerous.

Local CN Police Cst. Pete LeDrew said yesterday that while people definitely have been out riding their snowmachines, there hasn’t been many problems this winter here.

“Overall, the snowmobilers have been conscious of staying off the roads in the yard where the employees have been working,” he noted.

“In the main yard, between Portage Avenue and McIrvine Road, there’s a few tracks where they have gone down the roadways and I just want to get the word out to be careful,” added Cst. LeDrew.

“We do have a yard crew and maintenance workers that [are] in and out of their vehicles at all times,” he noted. “If you’re whipping along on a snowmobile, you don’t want to injure an employee.”

Cst. LeDrew said there’s also a couple spots along Williams Avenue where, due to the lack of snow, people tend to ride right along the rail.

“Between Williams Avenue and Crowe Avenue there’s an actual trail system, but some people like to take a little bit of a short cut and they’ve got to be careful,” he stressed.

“There’s equipment there—there’s switches and things called ‘greasers’ that put a light coat of grease on train wheels to stop them from making a squeaking noise.

“There’s a lot of maintenance done on the rail and ties. There’s things buried in the snow,” he added. “So I want people to be careful of things like that.”

Cst. LeDrew said there haven’t been many complaints from employees.

“Everybody’s been good overall,” he noted. “Just try to avoid the yards as much as possible.

“I know when travelling in the north end, it’s better than driving up and down the street,” he added. “So they should just stay away from the roadways and be careful of any employees working that close to the tracks.”

Referring to pedestrian trespassing on the tracks, Cst. LeDrew said that’s always something he’s vigilant about, too.

“It’s still there, but with the colder weather, it tends to decline a bit,” he remarked. “There’s some areas of concern in the yard which runs between Portage Avenue and McIrvine.

“People have to remember it is a switching yard and there are trains going back and forth. They can move at any time,” he stressed.

“In the next year or so, there’s going to be an increase in trains,” Cst. LeDrew added. “That’s definitely a concern because the more trains, the higher risk.”

He stressed if people are caught climbing through trains, they’ll be charged without any questions.

Cst. LeDrew noted the threat of fines aside, there’s been some serious accidents resulting from this type of behaviour in the past—and that should be reason enough for people not to take their chances crossing the tracks.

And that’s where education comes in. Cst. LeDrew has been continuing to visit district schools throughout the year to inform children of the dangers of trespassing and rail safety.

“Overall, I’m happy with the increased awareness. I’ve really noticed a decline [in trespassing] with the kids,” he remarked. “They’ve been really good. They’ve been really receptive.”

For more information on rail safety, visit www.cn.ca

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