Respect the rails – stay off the tracks!

A recent incident in Montreal is highlighting the significant, life-changing and potentially deadly consequences of trespassing on railway property.

According to news reports, a 30-year-old woman was part of a group of people attempting to pass between the cars of a stopped freight train in Montreal after 2 a.m. on June 12. As the woman was climbing between the cars, the train began to move. She fell – the train passed over her, severing her legs.

The Canada Safety Council urges Canadians to recognize that it is against the law to be on railway property.  Further, the consequences of trespassing are often swift, severe and unforgiving.

Across Canada in 2012, there were 78 fatalities and 53 serious injuries among 261 incidents involving railway crossings and trespassers, according to Operation Lifesaver (a partner of the CSC). The losses of life, limb and property from incidents such as these are tremendous – but they are preventable.

The safety message is simple: stay off and stay away from all trains, tracks and railway property at all times!  Operation Lifesaver advises the following:

  • Use designated level crossings to cross train tracks.
  • Obey the signs and signals near railway crossings – flashing lights and bells mean the train is coming so be safe and stay away.
  • Stop, look and listen before you cross just to make sure it is safe.
  • Stay away from the edge of the platform while waiting for the train at the station. Stay behind the platform safety line.
  • Stay away from trains and tracks and off railway property.
  • Say “NO” to trespassing on tracks or railway property.

Talk with your children railway safety. Tracks are for trains, not for people! 


Rail facts: (source: Operation Lifesaver)

  • There are approximately 73,000 km of railway tracks in Canada
  • A motorist is 40 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle.
  • Most collisions occur within 40 km of the motorist’s home.
  • Trains CANNOT stop quickly. An average freight train travelling at 100 km/h requires about 2 km to stop. A passenger train travelling at 160 km/h requires about the same distance to stop. Compare that to an automobile travelling at 90 km/h, which requires about 60 metres to stop.
  • Railway tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property. Walking or playing on them is illegal. Trespassers are subject to arrest and fines. Too often the penalty is death.

Stay away, stay alive!

  • NEVER take shortcuts on or around train tracks – it is dangerous.
  • NEVER throw things at trains – you could hurt someone.
  • NEVER put objects on train tracks – they can fly off and hurt someone – maybe you.
  • NEVER walk in front of or behind a stopped train – it could move suddenly.
  • NEVER walk or climb between parked railway cars – they can move at any time and you can get hurt.
  • NEVER enter open boxcars – the doors can shut suddenly and trap you there.
  • NEVER use railway tunnels and bridges as shortcuts – a train can come at any time.