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Railway ignores motorists

On Nov. 5, I had a difficult railway crossing incident with Canadian National Railway at the Joffre crossing on Hwy 815.

At the end of 1,600-km trouble free trip, I came to the said crossing at 10:10 p.m. to find the highway blocked by stationary railway cars.

One vehicle was stopped before I arrived. Not being familiar with any nearby alternatives, and with the secondary roads unplowed from the winter’s first heavy snowfall, and with a potential mechanical problem, I decided to wait it out.

After an unbelievable half-hour wait with no movement of the cars and with considerable frustration, I decided to call information to see if I could get a phone number for CN. There was one, and when I called there was a way to contact CN Police. The officer called dispatch, who talked to the crew. The officer said there was a rail crew working in the area (must have been at the Joffre plant) and within about 12 minutes the train was gone and I was able to proceed at 10:52 p.m. — a 42-minute wait.

Who knows how long it was there before I got there, and who knows how long it would have been there if I hadn’t found a way to rouse some action?

It is possible that this is a common occurrence. The car waiting behind me was driven by a young lady from Joffre. She simply shut off her car, laid her seat back and went to sleep.

A total of three of us were waiting and at least three parties left the site.

The regulations for railway crossings are that the trains cannot block the road crossing for more than five minutes after a car has stopped at that crossing.

There is obviously a very definite problem with CN’s thinking and practice. What if there were emergency vehicles involved and someone’s life was on the line? There’s got to be a push back against such wanton disregard of the travelling public.

When talking to Transport Canada officials, they were very aware of these issues and are happy to have incident reports, such as this one. They would like legislation with more teeth and incident reports such as this will assist with pressure on the government to consider such legislation.

If anyone is aware of such happenings, please give me a call.

Leo Reimche





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