As Wetaskiwin joins Canada in marking the 18th Rail Safety Week, Sept. 21 to 27, the message is simple: Stay off the tracks and stay safe.

Stay alert, stay safe: Wetaskiwin marks Rail Safety Week

18th annual awareness campaign runs Sept. 21 to 27

What weighs tens of thousands of tonnes, travels more than 100 km/h, and takes two kilometres to stop?

If you answered the average train, you’re a step ahead when it comes to safety around railway tracks in our community.

As Wetaskiwin joins Canada in marking the 18th Rail Safety Week, Sept. 21 to 27, the message is simple: It’s no competition. Stay off the tracks and stay safe.

“Trains moving through our community aren’t able to stop quickly or move around things on the tracks. We all have to be very careful around trains. An incident can happen so quickly and is avoidable when we are being vigilant around the railroad,” says Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam.

Recognizing the importance of Train Safety Week, the City of Wetaskiwin—in partnership with Canadian Pacific—shares the following tips to stay safe around trains:

  1. Stay off the tracks. Trains are faster than you think. You won’t necessarily hear or feel one coming if you’re walking along the tracks. And by the time you do, it might be too late.
  2. Use designated railway crossings. These are put up to help you cross the tracks safely. When you choose to cross somewhere else, you’re putting your life on the line.
  3. Obey all signs and signals. Many railway signs and warning devices, such as lights, bells and gates, alert you to when a train is coming or where and when you should cross. Following their directions will keep you safe.
  4. Stay alert and keep your distance. The best way to avoid being hit by a train is to stay out of its path. That means paying attention (put your phone down and if you’re wearing headphones leave #OneEarOut!) when you’re near tracks and trains so you can hear and see the warnings. At crossings, keep a distance of at least five metres from the tracks so you’re out of harm’s way when a train passes. At stations, stand well behind the platform’s edge or safety line.
  5. #STOPTrackTragedies. Engage with Operation Lifesaver’s video campaign reminding Canadians “you can never go back” from taking risks around tracks and trains. Children and parents can also check out the CP RailSense video game aimed at teaching young children about rail safety.

“Rail Safety Week is about bringing awareness that dangerous activity on the railway can affect you for the rest of your life,” says Al Sauve, Chief of CP Police Service, noting that train-related incidents can happen in a split-second and have tragic and far-reaching consequences – why conversations about safety are vital.

“Wetaskiwin was built around the railroad and so it has been here longer than our City,” Mayor Gandam says. “It’s important for us to be a part of Rail Safety Week and maintain a strong partnership with Canadian Pacific because the rail and trains are a part of our daily lives.”


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