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CN Police: It's illegal to trespass on train tracks, private railroad property

Reminder issued after 2,200 people injured, died in 2020 train collisions

Stay off private property and look before you cross.

Those are two of several safety messages being publicly delivered today (April 21) to communities across Canada in light of new stats from 2020 involving railroad accidents.

In North America last year, more than 2,200 people either suffered serious injuries or died from more than 3,400 train collisions, prompting CN Police to issue its annual warnings about the risks while in the act of trespassing railways.

“Safety is a core value at CN and we want to take every opportunity to raise awareness on safe behaviour around rail,” says Constable Peter M. Talvio of CN Police Canada’s Pacific Division, adding the only safe (and legal) way to cross train tracks is at a designated railway crossing.

“It is our job to make sure that everyone knows that trespassing is not only illegal, it can be fatal.”

CN Police are reminding the public it's illegal to trespass on private property, which includes railway yards, train tracks, tunnels and bridges.

If caught, trespassers could receive a violation ticket of up to $115, but also face possible criminal charges and a larger fine of up to $50,000.

“CN Police will be on patrol in your community and wants to send a strong safety reminder not to trespass on railway tracks or property.”

Other tips provided by the national service on avoiding the act of trespassing on railways are as follows:

  • Railway tunnels and bridges are only slightly wider than the rails, leaving little to no room for a person if a train does come along
  • Obey all railway signs and warning devices, such as lights, bells and gates  
  • Trains can overhang the tracks by as much as a metre so keep your distance
  • Call 9-1-1 to notify local emergency responders if you see an emergency on the tracks
  • Be rail-smart: Stop. Look. Listen. Live.

For more information, you’re encouraged to visit the police service page of CN’s website.