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Information Bulletin - Train Safety

May 4, 2007

Trying to “beat the train” could be a deadly game

Edmonton… No matter how a driver weighs the odds, ignoring the signals and disregarding safety at a railway crossing is a deadly venture. The odds are not in a motorist’s favour with the average train weighing 110 tonnes. When travelling 100 kilometres per hour, it takes a train the length of 14 football fields to come to a complete stop.

Most train and motor vehicle collisions happen during the daytime and when the train is travelling at less than 80 km\h per hour. Common causes of collisions with trains include drivers disobeying traffic control devices, failing to yield right of way at uncontrolled crossings or driving while impaired.

Motorists should cross railway tracks only at designated crossings. When approaching a railway crossing, be alert as trains do not always follow set schedules. Obey all warning signs and signal devices, as well as:

  • look for advance warning signs and the crossbuck symbol (a large white X with a red outline); if there is more than one track, the sign below the crossbuck will indicate the number of tracks;
  • listen for warning bells and whistles; turn off or turn down distracting fans, heaters and radios; ask the kids to be quiet and open a window to hear clearly;
  • stop at least five metres, but no further than 15 metres, from the nearest railway track when required to stop;
  • stop when a train is visible or sounding an audible signal and approaching within 500 metres of the crossing;
  • do not try to cross the track if the view is obstructed in either direction until you are certain that no train is approaching;
  • do not drive under a gate as it closes or around a closed gate; if the gate begins to close while the vehicle is underneath, keep moving ahead until the vehicle clears the crossing;
  • watch out for a second train; when the last car of a train passes the crossing, do not proceed until you are sure there is no train coming on another track, especially from the other direction;
  • if a vehicle has a manual transmission, shift down and do not change gears while crossing the tracks; and,
  • call the 1-800 number posted on or near the crossing signal or the local law enforcement agency if a signal is malfunctioning.

For more information about traffic safety, contact the Office of Traffic Safety at (780) 422-8839 or visit http://www.saferoads.com/.

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Media enquiries may be directed to:

Jeanette Espie
Office of Traffic Safety
Alberta Transportation
(780) 427-6588
Eileen McDonald
Alberta Transportation
(780) 422-0842 Cell: 422-0842

To call toll-free within Alberta dial 310-0000.