CN sounds track warning

Railway company will expand its policing presence in Armstrong

Armstrong residents have been warned to stay off the railway tracks.

CN Rail, which took over operation of the CP Rail line through the city in 2014, says train traffic will be increasing and so will their policing presence.

“The track supervisor has recently expressed concerns with how many people continue to walk in the (rail) corridor and across the rails,” wrote public works manager Tim Perepolkin in a report to council.

“Under no circumstances are people allowed to cross the tracks unless it’s a marked public crossing.”

Primary areas of concern are the Spirit Square location and at Bridge Street where pedestrians continue to cross the track regularly, ignoring CN’s efforts of posting signage warning trespasses can be fined.

CN has been experiencing similar problems in Vernon and other centres, and its own independent police squad has been handing out violation tickets which carry a significant fine of more than $100.

“There was no indication of whether or not they would be lenient at first or not,” said administrator Melinda Stickney, who also met with CN officials, when asked if warnings would be issued to rule breakers.

Mayor Chris Pieper said residents may not like the rules but they must be followed for safety purposes, and notes CN Rail is “not fooling” when it comes to fines.

“They want registered crossings to be registered crossings and the ones we’ve used for 100 years, I’m sorry, they aren’t registered so stay off them,” said Pieper. “They’re following rules the same way we have to follow the rules. None of us really like it but we have to follow them.”

The track supervisor requested the city install a continuous railing on the track side of the Spirit Square building. CN has yet to install trespassing signs at this location but will be doing so “very soon.”

CN has also requested the city instal a couple of concrete barriers south of the tracks at Bridge Street to deter people from using the location.

This location does have No Trespassing signs erected.

Council voted unanimously on a staff recommendation to have the city and North Okanagan Shuswap school board work with CN to raise safety awareness with the public, specifically the dangers associated with walking in the rail corridor and on the rails.

They also recommend implementing CN’s requests at Spirit Square and Bridge Street to help deter trespassing, and will budget for new crossing material for the Wood Avenue crossing for 2015.