VOL. 25, NO.4
With summer vacations just around the corner, CP Rail System once again is warning children about the hazards of trespassing and vandalism on railway property.
Each year railway police officers visit schools to explain the dangers of playing near railway tracks. Rail Safety Days is a campaign designed to reinforce these lessons.
The Rail Safety Days program began in 1989 when CP Rail System joined forces with other railway and transit organizations to put together an educational display.
And the Ontario Safety League and the Railway Association of Canada were more than happy to get on board.
This spring, CP Rail System brought Rail Safety Days to nine cities in southern Ontario, between 1 May 1995 and 9 Jun 1995. Designed for students in grades 4, 5, and 6, the display allowed the children to see first hand the dangers of playing near railway tracks.
Accompanied by their teachers, in pre-arranged visits, the children boarded a display train and were taken through a variety of exhibits presenting safety messages about trespassing and vandalism on railway property.
Upon entering the train, the children were greeted by two locomotive engineers, who, with the help of a computerized train dynamics analyzer (RDC 91), illustrate the dangers of playing on or near railway tracks.
The simulation included a mockup of a locomotive cab and a video showing the point of view of a train crew moving at 100 km (60 miles) an hour. "This gives the kids an appreciation of how long it takes for a train to stop in an emergency," said Locomotive Engineer Mike Cartmill.
The students then moved through CPRS cars 80 and 81. These 1947 vintage baggage cars were converted for display purposes during the railway's centennial celebrations in the 1980s.
Students entering car 80 saw historical photos and artifacts in a mini-museum setting, with particular focus on local scenes from the early 1900s.
Historic railway equipment such as a headlight and bell from a steam locomotive are included in the display.
At the far end of the car is a video dealing with the potentially deadly consequences of trespassing.
The displays in Car 81 depicted children playing and trespassing in unsafe situations. A uniformed CP Police officer spoke about the dangers of trespassing and vandalism, and visitors learned about court actions and fines associated with such behavior.
The safety train visited Oshawa, Cobourg, Belleville, Smiths Falls, Brockville, Ottawa, London, Chatham, and Windsor. It was open in the evenings to CPRS employees as well as the general public.
Gerry McKechnie, director of community affairs for IFS, accompanied the train on its tour of southern Ontario. According to McKechnie, the popularity of the display train grows every year. This year, more than 10,000 individuals were expected to tour the exhibits.
"Railway tracks and trestles are not a place to play or use as a shortcut," McKechnie said, emphasizing the train's central theme, "Railway property is private property and train time is any time."