New virtual-reality campaign aims to keep Canadians safe around train tracks and rail crossings

MONTREAL, April 24, 2017 - Every year, dozens of Canadians – especially young Canadians – are killed or injured when they put themselves in unsafe situations around railway tracks and trains. These incidents are devastating for the individuals involved, their friends and family, railway employees, first responders and communities. And virtually all of these incidents could be avoided.

Operation Lifesaver (OL) today unveiled a new rail-safety public-awareness campaign that uses virtual reality (VR) technology to give Canadians the shocking experience of a near-miss with a train. OL launched its new Look.Listen.Live. campaign at a press conference at Montreal's Central Station alongside the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, to mark the first day of Rail Safety Week (April 24-30, 2017).  

"I applaud Operation Lifesaver for stepping outside the box with this new innovative tool to teach Canadians how to make the right decisions around train tracks. Trespassing on tracks or trying to beat a lowering gate can be an extremely dangerous decision. I encourage all Canadians to look, listen and live," said Minister Garneau.

OL's campaign consists of two first-person virtual-reality videos – one featuring a person taking an illegal shortcut across railway tracks, the other showing a person driving around the lowered gates at a rail crossing, trying to beat an oncoming train.

"In developing this campaign, we asked ourselves: 'If no-trespassing signs, flashing lights and gates won't stop people from engaging in dangerous behaviour, what will?'" said Sarah Mayes, Operation Lifesaver's Interim National Director.

"We think the answer lies in having people personally experience a close-call with a train. Virtual reality provides a safe way to do that."

Canadians can experience OL's virtual-reality videos firsthand by visiting The videos can be viewed with or without a VR headset or cardboard viewer. Website visitors can also watch another video: the cautionary story of a young man, Scott Sackaney, who nearly lost his life when he was run over by a train in November 2012.

Visitors to are asked to join OL's campaign by making a rail safety pledge, sharing the videos and other messaging on social media using the hashtags #LOOKLISTENLIVE and #SHARETHESCARE, and engaging in conversations about rail safety with their friends, family and community members. They are also invited to follow OL on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up-to-date on the latest rail safety news.

About Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver is a national public rail-safety program sponsored by Transport Canada, the Railway Association of Canada and its members, including CN, CP, VIA Rail, AMT, Metrolinx and Genesee & Wyoming, among others. Through partnerships with safety councils, police, the trucking industry and community groups, Operation Lifesaver works to save lives by educating Canadians about the hazards of rail crossings and trespassing on railway property.