Alarm raised about ‘unsafe’ Burnaby rail crossing with no arms to block vehicles

Chris Campbell

The CN Police recently issued information about rail safety message in Burnaby, including some handy tips.

But all the tips in the world can’t help if a rail crossing is inherently unsafe.

A tweet by @theregoescarly was seeking help from people about how to report what was termed an “unsafe” rail crossing at Wiggins and Riverbend Drive deep in South Burnaby near Metro Vancouver’s waste-to-energy facility.

“Semi-trucks are not obeying the lights and there are no arms to physically stop traffic,” read the tweet. “It’s a frightening place for a pedestrian. No marked crosswalks and lots of trucks heading to the MetroVan incinerator.”

This is definitely a bad situation. I still can’t believe that there isn’t money by whichever group manages these tracks to add rail arms. Having said that, of course, arms don’t always stop traffic because there are often dangerous drivers who ignore them drive through despite an ongoing train.

“Notonly is it dangerous to disregard signals/signs at railroad crossings, but it is illegal, as per Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act – BC, states that all motorists must obey the signs and control devices at crossings,” read a news release from the CN Police. “Please take the time to be aware of your surroundings and watch for railway crossings in your community.”

Hopefully @theregoescarly gets some action on this request. Agencies always seem to do the bare minimum until somebody gets hurt. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this.

Safety tips:

  • Trains and cars do not mix. Never race a train to the crossing – even if you tie, you lose.
  • Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a train can take up to 2 km or more to stop. That’s 18 football fields!
  • Never drive around lowered gates – it is illegal and extremely dangerous. 
  • Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a railroad crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is much wider than the tracks on both sides.  If You Can’t Fit – Don’t Commit!
  • If your vehicle stalls on a track & a train is approaching, exit the vehicle immediately and move quickly AWAY from the tracks in the direction from which the train is coming. Contact the railway company concerned for assistance.
  • Check the back of the Cross buck (X) or the automatic signal post for a yellow bumper sticker.  This will have the 24/7 Emergency contact number for CN or CP to report an incident involving the railway.  This sticker will soon be replaced by a blue sign posted on the crossing signal pole.


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