Public Rail Safety Week: Prepare Yourself Accordingly

In North America, 2000 people are killed or injured each year in rail incidents. Those are numbers everybody would like to see get a lot smaller.

Beginning on Monday it is Public Rail Safety Week (Sept 23-29). The Government of Saskatchewan and the Western Canadian Short line Railway Association (WCSLRA) have teamed up to remind people of the risks associated with rail lines and to urge all drivers and pedestrians to be alert and cautious near tracks and trains. Moose Jaw is a railway city, so this information is important here.

In 2013 Jamie Jijian, a young father of three, was crushed to death while working at Regina's CP Rail Yard. Conditions in the yard caused Jijian to make the fatal miscalculation. So these incidents have hit real close to home.

Lori Carr, the Highways and Infrastructure Minister, understands as well as anyone the importance rail transportation has on our province "rail transportation is vital in getting goods delivered here as well as exports to market" she said, adding that we must all be aware that with the benefit of the rails comes a few risks. "Rail safety is everyone’s responsibility – only cross railway tracks at authorized and marked crossings, and always obey the signs.”

Saskatchewan has about 4,700 public crossings which is about 20 per cent of the crossings in all of Canada. The Government of Saskatchewan is responsible for and does conduct routine safety inspections of the province’s 1,200 short line rail crossings, they regularly review the safety management plans and they work closely with short lines to make sure their operating rules and plans are up-to-date and run on schedule.

The Government of Saskatchewan also distributes Train Safety Activity Booklets to Grade 4 students at more than 100 schools located near short line railways each year as a part of National Public Rail Safety Week. The booklets are produced by the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure in partnership with the WCSLRA.

WCSLRA President Perry Pellerin said that Railway safety "is our top priority. It is critically important to us that our staff and our neighbours make it home safely every night.”

The safety week is an initiative from Operation Lifesaver

Saskatchewan has 13 operational, privately-owned short line railways on about 2,131 km of provincially-regulated track that connect to more than 6,000 kilometres of federally-regulated rail lines.

Operation Life Saver has many recorded anecdotes from people who have been involved in rail line related incidents. Here is one involving Scott Sackaney that led to the loss of his arm.