Keeping rail-safe in Canada’s cities

Cities can be hectic places. There are people walking everywhere, bikes and scooters whizzing down streets, and plenty of traffic. In many cities, there’s also public transit, whether it be buses, streetcars, subways, or light rail. All of these things are just part of city life.
Railway tracks—whether they’re for freight, passenger, or commuter trains—are another reality of life in most cities. From coast to coast, many cities have been built around railway tracks, and Canadians depend on trains to get where they’re going and to deliver the goods that they need.
Unfortunately, rail tragedies can happen when people living in cities don’t follow the rail safety rules, or use the caution they should around tracks. 
Saving a few minutes isn’t worth your life
In February 2022, a 31-year-old woman in Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood was hit and killed by a train when she took a shortcut across the tracks. She had ducked through a hole in the fence to save time and avoid using a nearby underpass. 
In February 2018, a 39-year-old jogger in Windsor, Ont. was killed when he ignored the flashing lights and lowered safety gates at a railway crossing. Witnesses say he climbed through some stopped railway cars; when he emerged, he was struck by a passing train on a second set of tracks and was killed instantly.

Following the rail safety rules is the only safe option
If you live in a city, there are things you can do to stay safe around railway tracks. Whether you’re rushing home after work, trying to make it to school on time, or just wanting to get where you’re going a little more quickly, saving a few minutes by trespassing across tracks or disobeying railway signs and signals isn’t worth risking your life. Follow these safety rules to make sure you stay safe:
  • Never use railway tracks as a shortcut
  • Never go around lowered gates at a crossing
  • Obey all railway signs and signals, whether they’re lights, bells, or barriers
  • Don’t proceed through a crossing until all of the warning signals have stopped
  • Check both directions before proceeding through a crossing

For more tips on how to stay safe, check out the resources on our website.