Take in the fall colours—safely!

Fall is a beautiful time in Canada, and it’s a chance to get out and explore our country’s natural beauty on foot. And there are plenty of hiking trails to choose from.
But whether you’re hiking in the Rockies, or exploring your local conservation area, it’s critical that you follow the rail safety rules to stay safe.
“The number one rule is to stay off railway tracks. Period.” says Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada. “It’s extremely dangerous to hike or walk on tracks—or even alongside them. You never know when a train will come, and they’re a lot quieter than you may think. Staying clear is the only safe option.”­
Hit the trails, but stay off the tracks
When you’re in the middle of nature, it may seem safe to cross or to walk along railway tracks. But tracks are private property, not public hiking trails. Even when they look abandoned, you can’t assume tracks aren’t in use. Often, tracks that have been deactivated can be reactivated at any time.
Trains also travel in both directions and at all times of the day and night. You never know when a one might be coming along the tracks. It’s especially dangerous when wearing headphones; they can prevent you from hearing an oncoming train or its warning whistle.
So, before you head off on your next hiking adventure, follow these simple rules to stay safe:
  • Respect the rules. Stay on marked trails and off private property, including railway tracks. Only cross tracks at designated crossings and obey all railway warning signs and signals.
  • Plan your trip. Plan a route that avoids taking you near or across active railway tracks.
  • Tell someone your plans.  Make sure someone knows your route and leave a time/date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned.
  • Be aware of the weather. Canada’s weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the forecast and expect weather changes.
  • Take sufficient supplies. Make sure you have enough food, clothing, and equipment for the worst-case scenario. Take an appropriate means of communication.

Remember, safety is everyone’s responsibility. When hitting the hiking trails this fall, be rail-smart: Look. Listen. Live.