CPR, RCMP probe crash

RCMP and Canadian Pacific Railway Police are investigating a train-truck collision at an uncontrolled railway crossing near Innisfail on Sunday afternoon.

Scene of a collision between a train and truck near Innisfail on Sunday afternoon.

Scene of a collision between a train and truck near Innisfail on Sunday afternoon.

RCMP and Canadian Pacific Railway Police are investigating a train-truck collision at an uncontrolled railway crossing near Innisfail on Sunday afternoon.

But CPR media relations manager Kevin Hrysak said it’s pretty clear to him what happened.

“It’s obviously someone who wasn’t adhering to the signage in place or the whistles of an approaching train, in this circumstance,” Hrysak said.

“There were no injuries to our crew or the occupant of the truck — it was said that he was up and walking around after the incident.”

The 24-year-old man from Springbrook was transported to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre with non-life-threatening injuries and should be released in the next few days, Innisfail RCMP said.

The crossing at Township Road 362 and Hwy 2A has crossbucks, white and red signs in the shape of an X to indicate a rail crossing.

“It’s not a heavy crossing for traffic, so it’s equipped with crossbucks only,” Hrysak said.

Hrysak said the train’s engineer activated the whistle before approaching the crossing.

The mandatory safety protocol for all trains approaching uncontrolled intersections gives motorists an auditory cue to clear the intersection.

Drivers are suppose to yield to oncoming trains within 500 metres of a crossbuck.

“In that location, the sight lines are extremely good.

“There’s no way you should not have seen or heard an approaching train,” Hrysak said.

Innisfail RCMP said if the driver of the truck is found at fault, charges could be laid.

Hrysak said he is thankful no one was seriously hurt.

“These types of incidents are extremely hard on our crews — and these people are taking a chance with their lives by trying to beat a train,” Hrysak said.

There are about 37,000 public, private and pedestrian highway/railway crossings in Canada, and nearly half of the 214 crossing collisions (26 fatalities and 36 serious injuries in 2008) occurred at crossings with active warning devices (gates, lights, bells).

A motorist is 40 times more likely to be killed in an accident involving a train than with another vehicle.

CPR works with Transport Canada to regularly study the frequency of trains and vehicles at railway crossings and assigns markings, gates and lights based on use, Hrysak said.

The crossing where Sunday’s collision occurred was “confirmed as a rural railway crossing — so whoever is responsible for the roads leading up to the crossing share responsibility for the cost of maintenance and upgrading of the features” at the crossing, Hrysak said.

Hrysak said if an intersection is determined to be dangerous, CPR officials will help local governments or safety organizations upgrade the crossings, but the primary responsibility in preventing collisions falls on motorists.

“Trains are unforgiving.”

syoung@bprda.wpengine.com

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