Chilliwack has most ‘high-risk’ rail crossings in B.C.

Seven out of the top 500 riskiest crossings almost as many as rest of Lower Mainland combined; 13th highest number in Canada

The City of Chilliwack has more high-risk rail crossings than any other community in British Columbia, and almost as many as every other municipality in the Lower Mainland combined.

The municipality has the 13th highest number in all of Canada.

That’s according to a Transport Canada database of the country’s 500 “highest risk” crossings in 2014 obtained by CBC, which outlines that seven of those 500 are in Chilliwack.

There are zero crossings on the list in Abbotsford, Langley or Surrey, and just one each in Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby, Vancouver and Richmond.

The next highest total in the Lower Mainland is two in Maple Ridge.

There is also one on the list in Agassiz (Highway 9) and one in Hope (Silver Skagit Road).

Top on the list of Chilliwack’s most high risk is the Young Road crossing coming in at 49 out of 500.

In 2012, there were two fatalities at the Young Road crossing. A 49-year-old man was struck by a train near the crossing in February of that year, then a 25-year-old Saskatchewan man died in November when he tried to beat the train.

In July of 2012, a quick thinking cyclist helped save the life of a 92-year-old man whose scooter got caught in the train tracks.

The only one deemed more of a hot spot in all of B.C. is the No. 5 Road crossing in Richmond.

Second on the list in Chilliwack was Upper Prairie Road (82nd out of 500) followed by Gibson Road (122), Broadway (127), Yale Road East (327), Lickman (345) and Prest (412).

The data about high risk crossings is generated by special software designed to predict hot spots, and the information is not generally shared with municipal governments.

In a statement provided to the CBC by Transport Canada, it was explained there is a difference between “risk” and “danger.”

“Risk factors do not necessarily mean a crossing is unsafe,” the statement read. “It means that when you compare two different crossings against these factors you may deem one crossing to be higher than the other. These characteristics are not compliance related: a crossing deemed to have a higher ranking is not unsafe.”

There are 17,000 public rail crossings in Canada and of those, 17 per cent have gates and 22 per cent have bells and lights.

Rail Safety Week in Canada runs April 25 to May 1 this year.

During Rail Safety Week in 2015 in Chilliwack, a spokesperson said that while crossing and trespassing incidents remained stable across the two previous years, deaths over the same period declined by 24 per cent in the country.

A total of 57 deaths occurred in 2014 as compared with 75 fatalities in 2013.

 

Other rail accidents in recent years:

– November 2014 – An elderly man was killed after being struck by a train at the Eagle Landing Parkway crossing.

– October 2014 – A train collided with a car on the Southern Railway line at Lickman Road pushing it 300 metres along the tracks. The woman in the car escaped with minor injuries.

– August 2013 – One person died after a collision between a car and a train. The incident took place at the Prest Road railroad crossing the intersection with First Avenue.

– November 2010 – A man was not injured after his truck collided with a train at the Knight Road crossing.

– April 2007 – A 61-year-old man died after he was hit by a train near Broadway Avenue.

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