Municipality of Sioux Lookout reminds residents, visitors to town to be rail smart
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
The Municipality of Sioux Lookout has been initiating consistent messaging through their social media pages, reminding community members to be vigilant for rail safety, and stay clear from the tracks.
Municipal Clerk Brian P. MacKinnon shared, “It is never a good idea to play on or near railroad tracks. They can be very dangerous places – even when there isn’t a train in sight. Trains can be moving quickly and take up to two kilometres to stop. That’s the distance between Tim Horton’s and Aztak Auto.” He added, “When you’re near tracks, stop, look, and listen. It could save your life.”
MacKinnon shared that with CN rail tracks being privately owned, trespassing could lead to consequences. “Since the CN Rail tracks are private property, people shouldn’t be on or near them any time of year. But there is certainly greater temptation for people to disregard no trespassing signs and ‘take a short cut’ across the tracks outside of our winter months. Those caught trespassing on CN property can be prosecuted.”
MacKinnon shared that through their messaging the municipality aims to assist CN Rail, which is an important community stakeholder with its rail lines bisecting the community of Sioux Lookout, along with providing several employment opportunities in the area. He shared, “Our recent and continuing rail safety messages serve to inform residents about the dangers that surround the railway cars and tracks. CN Police are supportive of the initiative and provided additional information that is linked in our social media posts.”
“Railway tunnels, bridges, and trestles are designed ONLY for trains. Trespassers can be seriously injured or killed. Always be careful around train tracks. They’re no place to play,” shared one of the municipality’s rail safety awareness posts on Facebook. Another post said, “Stopped railway cars can move at any time. If you’re on or near one when it moves, you could lose a limb - or worse, your life. Never play near railway cars - stopped or not.” Among several other messages and facts, the Municipality also shared that an average freight train weighs over 5,500 tonnes, comparing it to a car with a weight of about 1.5 tonnes. “A train hitting a car is like a car hitting a pop can. NEVER stop on or near train tracks,” the post added.
MacKinnon shared that while the Municipality isn’t aware of any recent concerns around the misuse of the rail tracks, there have been incidents in the past that resulted in preventable injuries and deaths. He added that this effort in coordination with CN Police aims to inform and educate residents about some of the inherent dangers surrounding the railway tracks, regardless of age.
CN runs a weekly podcast telling people how to be rail smart. It can be accessed at https://bit.ly/3h07hxa.
The Municipality also looks forward to proclaiming September as Rail Safety Month to further their efforts in raising awareness around safe rail practices.