National Rail Safety Week may have wrapped up on the weekend, but CP police want to keep safety on your mind all the time.

George Kullman is a CN Constable for the Prairie Division says rail safety is particularly important for a place like Portage la Prairie.

"You've got both CN and CP having their main lines coming right through town. It's one of the only places that actually has, what they call, a diamond," says Kullman. "It's where you have the two railways intersecting each other. They actually cross each other in town here. Having the two main railways in town, obviously increases the amount of rail traffic that you have to contend with on a day-to-day basis. A lot of people don't realize trains don't really run on a schedule. They go when they're ready."

Kullman says, if you plan to avoid a train at a certain time, there's no guarantee that strategy would work. He asks you keep your eyes and ears open as the trains can almost be considered random.

Continuing the conversation surrounding safety, Kullman looks at the three main ways of crossing the tracks legally: the crossings at 3rd Street NE, 8th Street NW, and the Tupper Street Bridge.

"I'm sure one of the main reasons years ago when they built the bridge was so that people wouldn't cross the tracks -- not only on foot, but then it also allows vehicles to go over," says Kullman. "Keeping that in mind, just safety alone, you need to be crossing at the crossings or going over the bridge. Under the Railway Safety Act, it's an offence to cross anywhere other than a crossing."

If you are caught crossing the tracks unlawfully, you can get a $900 fine. Kullman says they would rather not hand out a ticket, preferring to go the education route. He has not given out too many fines in 2023, adding most people understand where they are coming from. However, for those who continue to cross dangerously, it could get expensive.

National Rail Safety Week ran from September 18th to the 24th.


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