Farmers: Make sure you know how to be rail-safe

There are more than 200,000 farms across Canada—and they’re responsible for producing much of the food we put on our dinner tables. But many farms are near railway tracks—and this can be a dangerous combination if farmers don’t follow the rail-safety rules.

In April 2014, a 15-year-old boy from Chilliwack, B.C. was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after he was hit by a train while driving a tractor. Another teen had been riding on the tractor at the time, but was able to jump off before the collision. In November 2013, a 44-year-old farmer in southwestern Manitoba was also sent to hospital after the tractor he was driving was hit by a freight train.

Ensuring Canadian farmers get the rail-safety message

“Trains can appear to be much farther away and travelling much more slowly than they actually are. They also can’t stop on a dime,” explains Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada. “We want to remind farmers to follow the rail-safety rules when driving farm machinery near tracks, and we encourage them to talk about safety with their families and those who visit their farms.”

Those driving farm machinery, such as tractors and combines, should stop at all crossings and keep these rail-safety tips in mind to stay safe:
  • Before attempting to proceed through a farm crossing for the first time, make sure heavier and wider equipment can be safely moved over the crossing.
  • When approaching a crossing, stop at least 5 metres from the nearest tracks. Allow extra distance for front-mounted buckets and chemical tanks on farm tractors.
  • While stopped, look carefully in both directions for approaching trains. Before crossing, make sure there is enough room on the other side to fully clear the tracks.
  • Make sure any towed equipment doesn’t become unhitched while crossing, and that no loaded materials become dislodged and fall onto the tracks.

For more rail safety tips, check out OL’s website. Also, stay tuned for a new Train to Drive agriculture-focused virtual reality (VR) video later this summer. The 360 video will give viewers the shocking—and hopefully unforgettable—experience of how quickly a vehicle-train collision can happen. And farmers: keep an eye out for our ad in The Western Producer at the end of July.