SOUTH SURREY â€” When two trains travelling through Crescent Beach this past summer came uncoupled and blocked access to the community, Erik Seiz was concerned. When two more trains recently became stalled on the tracks over the course of two weeks, Seiz is worried the issue is par for the course.
The most recent incidents took place on Dec. 27 and Jan. 5, according to Seiz. During the latter incident, he said access to the beach community was blocked for up to four hours after a train became uncoupled. The former incident was also an uncoupling, but did not block beach access.
As president of Crescent Beach Property Ownersâ€™ Association, Seiz has been paying careful attention to the rail issues in his community and has singled out a certain curve in the track that seems to be where the uncouplings occur.
The area in question is a curve south of the Nicomekl Bridge. south of Crescent Beach. While trains are to go 10 miles per hour (16 km/h) across the Nicomekl Bridge, they are allowed to increase their speed shortly afterward. Itâ€™s then that Seiz believes the trains are coming uncoupled, leading to stalls.
â€œWhy does a coupling break? Because of stress and why would there be stress? Because of braking,â€ said Seiz about the summer incidents. â€œSo if the coupling is going to break, weâ€™d like to see it in a place where the train doesnâ€™t end up sitting across the crossings.â€
To that end, Seiz hoped trains would retain the reduced speed shortly after the curve.
â€œYou have this sort of statistical thing showing up, they keep hoping it wonâ€™t come up again,â€ he said. â€œUnless you do something very explicit like slow down before the curve and come through at a consistent rate, youâ€™re always going to have this situation.â€
Gus Melonas, of rail operator BNSF, said the company is aware of, and is reviewing, the recent situations, but said the incidents were not related to speed or curves.
â€œSpeed, curve is not an issue for safe train ops at this location,â€ he said.
A Transport Canada spokesperson issued a statement saying the government is aware of concerns at the site.
â€œOur inspectors have reviewed this location, and have asked BNSF to develop and implement a plan to address the concerns,â€ said the spokesperson. â€œTransport Canada will continue to monitor this location, and take further action to protect public safety, if necessary.â€