Tuesday, May 08, 2012

VIA Rail, CN, CP and partners put spotlight on rail safety

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From April 30 to May 6 this year, Operation Lifesaver's Rail Safety Week raised public awareness and encouraged Canadians to take personal responsibility for safety near rail property.

While rail transportation is the safest of all ground transportation modes, trespassing on rail property and negligence at railway crossings cause unnecessary and preventable tragedies every year. This year, VIA Rail Canada contributed to the efforts to change attitudes and behaviors towards rail safety and reduce injuries and fatalities by organizing and participating in a variety of community-level events and activities.

"Safety is our number one priority," said Jean Tierney, VIA's senior firector, dafety, security and risk management. "From our train operations, to the work we do at our stations, in our maintenance centers and in our offices, VIA employees strive to promote a strong safety culture across every aspect of our business operations."

According to Operation Lifesaver, every year approximately 300 collisions and trespassing incidents occur at railway crossings and along railway tracks in Canada.

"That is 300 incidents too many," declared Tierney. "Indeed, even one incident is one too many. That is why VIA is proud to work with Operation Lifesaver, the Railway Association of Canada, Transport Canada, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific and other industry partners, with a goal of preventing these incidents through education and outreach. We believe that getting out into communities to spread the word on rail safety can save lives."

As part of Rail Safety Week 2012, VIA worked with Operation Lifesaver, Belleville Police Service, CN and Bay of Quinte Safe Communities to educate the public and the youth of Belleville on the importance of following safe practices in and around railway land in the Belleville, Ontario area.

"Together, our teams have been in the community, handing out rail safety guides at kiosks at VIA's Belleville station and in local malls; meeting pedestrians and vehicle drivers at area rail crossings; giving safety presentations at local schools and accepting a special donation from VIA Rail to the Belleville Children's Safety Village," said Belleville Police Chief Cory McMullan. "It has been a pleasure for the Belleville Police to collaborate with these organizations to put the spotlight on such an important safety issue for our community and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners to improve safety for the citizens of Belleville.

"Initiatives like these ones and hundreds more happen during Rail Safety Week and all year long," added Dan Di Tota, national director of Operation Lifesaver. "Our goal remains the same all year and right across the country: to educate the public on how to stay safe."

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