SYLVAN LAKE — A young woman suffered serious injuries after the small vehicle she was driving in town was struck by a freight train at a level, marked rail crossing on Friday.
The eastbound CN train, pulling tanker cars, collided with the vehicle at 1:40 p.m. at the crossing on Lakeshore Drive near Hwy 11.
Volunteers firefighters from the Sylvan Lake Fire Department had to use the Jaws of Life to free the trapped woman who was driving a two-door, red subcompact vehicle.
Warren Chandler, public affairs manager for CN, said the woman suffered non life-threatening injuries.
The car ended up on the west side of the tracks and demolished a large control box that regulates the lights at the crossing.
The lights were working at the time, as were audible signals sounding, Chandler said.
Const. Neil Muz of Sylvan Lake RCMP said the woman was making a left-hand turn to head west on Lakeshore Drive from Erickson Drive.
Muz said there were other vehicles waiting at the crossing lights, headed east on Lakeshore.
Police couldn’t say why the woman decided to cross when she did.
Chandler said none of the train crew were injured.
“It’s too early in the investigation to say what caused the crash,” Chandler said.
After the collision, the two locomotives pulling the tankers were disconnected and allowed to clear the intersection so traffic could resume.
Visibility and roads were both described as good at the time.
The sun was also bright at the time.
Albert Domansky had stopped by the scene well after the train and the wrecked vehicle had been moved.
“Sylvan is a town where you really have to pay attention because we have so many rail crossings.
“It only takes a flash to look away and lose concentration or get distracted by something,” Domansky said.
“I’ve lived here for almost 10 years and I’ve noticed the train traffic is pretty constant.”
Sylvan Lake has had a few train incidents in the last few years.
Last July, a CN engine ran off the end of a secondary track not far from 4605 50th Ave., in Sylvan.
The engine plowed up some ground. No one was injured.
On the last day of 2008, a CN train collided with a vehicle in the morning at the 50th Street crossing.
The train clipped the vehicle but no one was injured.