Safety Blitz in Vancouver,BC

Shown are George Bell, West Coast Express Rail Equipment and Safety Manager; Carolyn Bowne, Regional Director, Transport Canada, Surface Railway Safety; CPR Chief of Police Gerry Moody; Gary Drouin, Direction 2006 co-chair; Operation Lifesaver National Director Dan Di Tota, and Mike Lowenger, Vice-president, Operations and Regulatory Affairs, Railway Association of Canada.

Speaking Notes of Doug Kelsey, President, West Coast Express Ltd.

The following are the speaking notes of Doug Kelsey, President of West Coast Express Ltd. re: his remarks at the safety blitz in Vancouver, BC (Lower Mainland) on June 11, 2002.

1. Good morning, and welcome.

2. I, and the whole Direction 2006/Operation Lifesaver team, appreciate your interest and participation in today's efforts.

3. Our objective is simple -- to save lives along the railway tracks on the lower mainland and across Canada.

4. Operation Lifesaver, the public safety initiative of Canada's railways, all levels of government, police, railway unions and community leaders, have helped reduce crossing and trespasser deaths and injuries by 60 per cent since 1981.

5. Another government and industry initiative, Direction 2006, is working hard to drive those numbers down by another 50 per cent by the year 2006.

6. That's being achieved through research, education, enforcement, and public communications efforts, including billboards and transit shelter posters, radio and TV announcements.

7. The actual number of highway/railway crossing collisions and trespasser incidents isn't large, compared to highway traffic accidents in B.C., but they all have catastrophic results and very preventable.

8. At the end of the first quarter this year, there had been three crossing collisions in B.C. -- down from 12 for the same period last year.

9. At the end of March, there were two trespassing incidents -- up from one for the same period last year.

10. A number of West Coast employees, led by Wendy Kirk, have helped make today's events possible while I have been traveling on business. For that extra effort, I want to say thank you to them all.

11. And I want to thank the volunteers from all the other partners involved in today's successful event, particularly those who were on the platforms bright and early this morning (well, early anyway…) to hand out literature, and deliver our safety message - Any time is train time, so Look, Listen and Live!

12. I am proud of the role we play in the communities we serve, on several levels.

13. And I am pleased with the leadership role West Coast Express played in introducing head-end video cameras to our passenger locomotives in Canada last year.

14. The equipment helps us, with our partners, to target areas of concern for both trespassing prevention and crossing safety.

15. Our train crews, in particular, have been very supportive of this effort because it shows us what they see, and unfortunately, sometimes have to cope with.

16. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the police officers from five forces involved in the Officer on the Train initiative this morning.

17. Cst. Brian Soles of the Port Moody Police was in the locomotive to watch for motorists trying to beat the train across the crossing, and to radio the details to community police officers strategically placed along the route.

18. Police participating this morning were from Canadian Pacific Railway Police, CN Police and the RCMP detachments in Ridge Meadows and Coquitlam at highway/railway crossings between Mission and Waterfront Station.

19. Over the past year, police enforcement efforts resulted in more than 1,000 warnings and more than 300 charges laid for both trespassing and crossing violations.

20. That tells me two things. First, that the police are doing their jobs.

21. Second, that too many people still don't recognize the potential risk around trains, and the danger they are placing themselves in, unnecessarily. Every one of those incidents had the potential to be deadly, or crippling.

22. Thank you again. I look forward to the discussions that will continue and contribute to achieving our overall objective - elimination of crossing collisions and trespasser incidents.