Wrong way to catch a train

Drivers are being warned to stop and check both ways before crossing railway tracks in Oceanside.   - Neil Horner photo
Drivers are being warned to stop and check both ways before crossing railway tracks in Oceanside.
— image credit: Neil Horner photo

What happens when a train plows into a car stopped on the tracks? Nothing that Oceanside RCMP Corporal Richard van de Pol wants to see any time soon.

It’s a sight he’s afraid he might have to witness however, thanks to some local drivers’ poor habits.

“At train crossings here that have stop signs, as opposed to lighted track crossings, it is expected that people will stop for them,” he said.

The comments came in light of officers monitoring the rail crossing at Arbutus Street in Qualicum Beach observed an SUV crossing the tracks at 1:30 p.m. Friday — even as a train bore down on it.

“The train was only about 40 metres away,” van de Pol said. “There was a real potential for a train and vehicle collision.”

The driver of the SUV made it across the tracks, but wasn’t able to avoid the attentions of the monitoring officers, who issued a ticket for failing to stop at a railway crossing.

A frustrated Van de Pol said drivers who race the train are not only risking their own lives for no good reason, but the lives of others as well.

“For the amount of time it takes to stop and look, it  could well save your life,” he said. “It’s not like people don’t know the train is coming. It’s an every day occurrence.”

Van de Pol noted that same crossing was the scene of a crash in late December, when an elderly woman’s car was hit by the Via Rail dayliner and pushed about 200 feet down the tracks.

The woman, who was approximately 85 years old, was airlifted to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.


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