Three separate times, someone has deliberately and dangerously placed steel tie plates on the train tracks in Blackfalds — an act that can damage or even derail trains.
A number of railway tie plates were put in the Blackfalds area. Canadian Pacific Railway was going to use the plates to replace the existing ties on the rail line.
Const. Ross Utigard of Canadian Pacific Rail Police said on Thursday that a couple of weeks ago a number of the ties were stacked on the track. As the train went by, it kicked the plates up and three tank cars were punctured.
“Thankfully only one of the tank cars had material in it and it just happened to be plastic pellets instead of a dangerous good,” said Utigard.
The incident is being investigated as a mischief file.
The tie plates are roughly the size of a shoebox, 1.3 cm (half an inch) thick and solid steel.
“When the train drives over them there is definitely a risk of knocking the wheel off the track,” said Utigard. “It could derail the train. Or sometimes the wheel, depending on the angle it hit, it can actually fling the metal out at a high rate of speed.
“That can cause injury to anyone nearby or damage the train.”
The train travels through the town at about 60 km/h.
Utigard also said they are having problems in Blackfalds with people walking across the tracks away from the controlled crossings, where they are not supposed to.
“People are only supposed to cross the tracks at designated crossings,” said Utigard. “A lot of people are cutting through yards or parking lots and taking the short cuts.”
Anyone who has information about people putting the ties on the tracks is asked to call the CP police at 1-800-716-9132. If they see the crime in progress, they are asked to call 911.