Government of Canada supports railway safety in Saskatchewan



    REGINA, Jan. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada is helping keep
the people travelling in Saskatchewan safe by supporting the closure of five
railway crossings in the province, Canada's Transport Minister, John Baird,
announced today.
    "The federal government is committed to ensuring the safety of
Canadians," said Minister Baird. "These closures will help reduce the number
of accidents and fatalities at highway/railway crossings in Saskatchewan."
    The government will contribute $100,000 to close three crossings in Swift
Current, as well as one in Hubbard and one in Vanscoy. Traffic will be
redirected to nearby crossings with a higher level of protection for road
users.
    The federal government works closely with railway companies and
communities across the country to identify grade crossings that require safety
improvements. Under Transport Canada's Grade Crossing Closure Program,
eligible railway crossings are closed based on an assessment of factors such
as traffic volume and accident history.
    Transport Canada supports other initiatives to improve safety at railway
crossings, such as Operation Lifesaver. This public education program has
promoted safety at railway crossings since 1981 by providing awareness
briefings to schools and communities, developing and promoting videos, and
sponsoring events.
    A backgrounder on railway crossing facts is attached.

    
                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------
                                 ------------

                       RAILWAY CROSSING FACTS AND TIPS
                       -------------------------------

    - Approximately 50 per cent of vehicle-train collisions occur at
      crossings with active warning devices (gates, lights, bells).
    - Never race a train to the crossing - even in a tie, you lose.
    - Trains cannot stop quickly. An average freight train travelling at
      100 km/h requires about  1.1 kilometres to stop. A passenger train
      travelling at 120 km/h requires about 1.6 kilometres to stop. That's
      14 football fields!
    - Listen for warning bells and whistles. Turn off, or turn down,
      distracting fans, heaters and radios until the crossing is safely
      cleared. Opening the window helps you hear better.
    - Never drive around lowered gates - it's illegal and deadly. If you
      suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or
      near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
    - Do not get trapped on the tracks. Proceed through a highway/railway
      crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing
      without stopping. Remember that the train is three feet wider than the
      tracks on both sides.
    - If your vehicle stalls on the tracks at a crossing, immediately get
      everyone out and far away from the tracks. Move in the direction that
      the train is approaching from to avoid being hit by debris, because the
      momentum of the train will sweep your vehicle forward.
    - When at a multiple-track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch
      out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either
      direction.
    - Railway tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property.
      Walking or playing on them is illegal, and trespassers are subject to
      arrest and fines. Too often the penalty is death.
    - In 2007, 57 people were killed and 27 others seriously injured while
      trespassing on railway property.
    - Do not walk, run, cycle or operate all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on
      railway tracks or rights of way or through tunnels.
    - Cross tracks only at designated pedestrian or railway crossings.
      Observe and obey all warning signs and signals.
    - Do not attempt to hop aboard railway equipment at any time. A slip of
      the foot could cost you a limb or your life.
    - There are approximately 55,000 public, private and pedestrian highway-
      railway crossings in Canada.
    - There are still too many fatalities and injuries as a result of
      highway-railway crossing collisions.
    - Look for the crossbuck symbol that indicates a highway-railway
      crossing. Some more heavily travelled highway-railway crossings have
      lights and bells or gates.

                                                                January 2009
    




For further information:

For further information: Chris Day, Press Secretary, Office of Transport
Minister John Baird, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700; Media Relations, Transport
Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca.
Subscribe to news releases and speeches at www.tc.gc.ca/e-news and keep up to
date on the latest from Transport Canada. This news release may be made
available in alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.


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