Iron Ridge Elementary School students cross the CP Rail line after school in Blackfalds on Tuesday. A well tramped trail through the snow indicates it is a popular shortcut rather than walking to a marked crossing. One father is calling for safety measures to prevent children from crossing the tracks where it is unsafe.

Parents worry over kids crossing train tracks

Students crossing train tracks to get to school quickly could lead to tragedy, says a Blackfalds father.

Students crossing train tracks to get to school quickly could lead to tragedy, says a Blackfalds father.

So Jason Spatt of Blackfalds has raised the issue with local and railroad officials.

Spatt, a father of a school-aged child, drove his daughter to school and noticed children crossing the train tracks away from the controlled intersection.

“I’ve probably seen it before, but it just never dawned on me until yesterday,” said Spatt.

Rather than walk roughly eight blocks through the controlled intersection over the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks, Spatt said students were crossing where it was convenient, but unsafe.

He raised this concern in an email to CP, Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol and the principal of Iron Ridge School in the town.

“I sent them an email because they probably don’t know about it,” said Spatt.

“People get their blinders on. You see stuff every day and you can miss it. Yesterday it hit me and bothered me last night.”

He also noticed a splash park near the controlled intersection that he said could also lead children to cross the trains away from the intersection if it were more convenient for them to do so.

“That train typically comes through here pretty quick,” said Spatt.

“The school (his daughter) goes to is kindergarten to Grade 4, so younger kids, you can try and teach them the best you can about where you should cross the railway crossing at the controlled intersection, look both ways and the usual. But kids are kids and things can happen.”

He suggests a chain-link fence running a few blocks along the tracks near the school to deter kids from crossing where it is unsafe.

“We have a train that comes through Blackfalds on a regular basis throughout the day and night and it can be at high speeds and when you’re dealing with little kids, there is a huge risk,” said Spatt.

“What’s a couple of blocks of chain-link fence in the grand scheme of things? Probably not a lot.”

A spokesperson for CP responded to the email saying he would forward the concern to people who could look into the matter.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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