Calendar of Events: Operation Lifesaver Rail Safety Week

OTTAWA - The special week will include unveiling a VIA Rail engine with the Operation Lifesaver colours in the corridor, crossing safety blitzes, and Officer on the Train initiatives.

There will be mock collision scenarios, broadcast of radio and television public service announcements, OL presentations by volunteers in schools, mall displays, media interviews, conferences and speeches to community groups.

The initiatives involve the public, freight and passenger railways, police, unions, safety councils and leagues, government, community leaders and organizations.

Atlantic Canada

The Nova Scotia Safety Council will give Halifax area media an opportunity to travel by VIA Rail from Truro to Halifax and conduct interviews en route on April 27. A kiosk will be set up in the Halifax station and a VIA Rail Presenter will distribute pamphlets and information to the public.

The New Brunswick Safety Council will organize school presentations May 1 at Quispamsis Elementary School, other schools throughout the province during the week, and highway/railway crossing safety blitzes in Moncton on April 29, and in Campbellton May 8.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Safety Council will conduct a mock collision in cooperation with the iron ore railway, the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway, April 30 in Labrador City, and a public safety awareness campaign with students in Labrador West area schools.


CN Police, in cooperation with the Quebec Safety League and VIA Rail, are organizing safety displays April 28 and 29 in Central Station, a Commuter Train Blitz, a student rail safety colouring contest, prize drawings, joint operations with local police, and special guest speakers.

There will be OL Rail Safety Presentations on April 30 and May 1, and a crossing safety blitz May 2. On May 3 and May 4, the Optimist Club's Convention will host the OL Rail Safety Display. During the week, CPR Police will make a special effort to address trespassing in the St. Luc, LaSalle, Montreal West, and Montreal region and raise Crossing Awareness on Elmhurst Street in Montreal West.

During the week, a kiosk will be set up in the Quebec City station and a VIA Rail Presenter will distribute pamphlets and information to the public. Safety presentations will be made at Maxville Public School by one of VIA's locomotive engineers and manager.


In Ontario, the province's Safety League, railway police, GO Transit, ONR, CPR and CN Police will be working on crossing blitzes in various areas with brochures, presentations, mall displays in Niagara Falls and St. Thomas, and safety presentations.

There will be "meet-and-greet tailgate sessions" at Brampton Intermodal Terminal gates leading in and out of the intermodal terminal to approach truckers and hand out OL material.

Between April 28 and May 4, there will be enforcement initiatives by police at level crossings in the area, and a push in the Race Against Drugs in Niagara Falls. On May 2, the CN mini-train "Little Obie" will make its traditional hit with youngsters, and the young at heart, during Safety Day in Ingersol, ON.

On May 3 and 4, Safety Days at St. Thomas will attract the "Little Obie" mini-train and fans. CN Police Officers will also be a part of the Joint Force Operations with GO Transit, and their initiative with York Regional police.

GO Transit, the fifth busiest commuter rail operation in North America, has a series of initiatives planned to deliver the safety message. Steve Harvey, GO's Operation Lifesaver Coordinator, says they will use their on-board electronic billboards and a specially produced Commuter Bulletin to help in rail safety awareness.

"There is a Railway Safety Fact Sheet especially designed to address trespassing and safety issues in specific problem areas," said Mr. Harvey. "We will be using the Newly Licensed Driver video after May 4 to help train driving instructors through the Ontario Safety League. We are addressing the problem on several levels, with the most appropriate resources. We have one objective - to save lives.'

"We will also reinforce the Near Collision Reporting Process in partnership with CN, CPR, GO, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Pacific Northern Rail Contractors Inc. (PNR)," said Mr. Harvey.

CPR Police will staff an interactive display at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto April 27 and conduct trespass enforcement on Islington Avenue April 28. During the week, they will deliver crossing education to drivers on Pearl St. and Spruce River Road in Thunder Bay, and trespass enforcement throughout Eastern Ontario.

On April 29, there is more trespass enforcement on Rossland Road and Cochrane St. in Whitby, ON; April 30, trespass enforcement on Grande River Bridge, Cambridge; May 1, crossing education and enforcement in Chatham, and on May 2, crossing education and enforcement in Sudbury, ON. During the same week, CPR Police will have their Interactive Display up and running in Niagara Falls.

Richard Gamble, Ontario Northland Railway's safety coordinator said: "A mock accident scenario will be held on Thursday, May 8, in Cochrane, ON. This will involve full participation by the community's Emergency Services, local high schools, northern media, local politicians and community leaders.'

"We will have other EMS personnel on hand as guests, and there will be a de-briefing for spectators and participants so all can get the best possible knowledge and experience from the exercise."

An Officer on the Train initiative, which gives local police an opportunity to ride the head end, and see, from the locomotive engineer's perspective, the chances some drivers and pedestrians take on the run from Thunder Bay to Schreiber, is being planned.


The Manitoba Safety Council and Canadian National Railway are planning a mock collision and emergency response on April 28 in cooperation with Winnipeg Emergency Services, BLE, United Transportation Union, volunteers, and local high school drama students. Local media will be on hand.

Debriefing will take place at the high school. The session will be videotaped and used as a training tool by the City of Winnipeg and others. Work is underway on planning other events.

CPR Police Service will be conducting education and enforcement blitzes at Inkster Boulevard, Sturgeon Road, Munroe Avenue, Manhattan Avenue, Grey Street, Plessis Road, and Redonda Street in Winnipeg.


The Saskatchewan Safety Council is hard at work with its partners readying information for distribution, through all its available channels. A vehicle involved in a recent collision will be used at the week's kick-off. And an Operation Lifesaver display will be open for new RCMP recruits at the police training academy.


The Alberta Safety Council and its' OL partners will distribute rail safety activity placemats to restaurants and truck stops across the province, and CPR Police will conduct a crossing enforcement blitz between Leduc and Wataskawin on May 3.

British Columbia

BC Safety Council, CN Police, BC Rail and CPR Police will draw public attention to the consequences of a collision by using a crashed car as billboard at a highway-railway crossing in North Vancouver on April 28. There will be various other crossing blitzes, distribution of posters, and tailgate information sessions. CN and CPR Police will cooperate in organizing an Officer on the Train initiative in Richmond, BC on April 30. A media blitz will be organized throughout the week, together with an OL Display at the Fun Zone in Maple Ridge, BC between May 2 and 4. School presentations and crossing blitzes are also being organized.

None were killed or injured last year in Newfoundland and Labrador or Nova Scotia, although several railway passengers were injured when vandalism by a trespasser derailed their train in Nova Scotia. In New Brunswick, two were killed and one seriously injured; in Quebec, 18 were killed and nine seriously injured last year.

In Ontario, 47 were killed and 23 seriously injured in 2002; in Manitoba, there were six fatalities and five serious injuries; in Saskatchewan, there were three killed and four serious injuries; Alberta, 11 fatalities and 13 serious injuries; and in British Columbia, eight fatalities and six serious injuries last year.


Roger Cameron
Railway Association of Canada

Cathy Cossaboom
Transport Canada

Dan Di Tota
Operation Lifesaver

Steve Harvey
GO Transit
416-869-3600 #5209

Richard Gamble
Ontario Northland Railway
705-472-4500 #204

Malcolm Andrews
VIA Rail Canada

Gary Drouin
Transport Canada

Bryan Lowes
British Columbia Safety Council

Laurie LeClair
Alberta Safety Council

Harley Toupin
Saskatchewan Safety Council

Mike Waite
Manitoba Safety Council
204-949-1085 #811

Bert Killian
Ontario Safety League

Marie Brillon
Quebec Safety League

Ron Carr/ Bill Walker
New Brunswick Safety Council

rminta Kennedy
Nova Scotia Safety Council
902-454-9621 #22

Marliese Janes
Newfoundland and Labrador Safety Council

Raynald Marchand
Canada Safety Council
613-739-1535 #226