CN Rail is apologizing for a stalled train in Burnaby on Saturday — but it says the way the public reacted to the delay was not acceptable.
The train was stopped on CN track adjacent to Burnaby Lake for several hours on Saturday morning and blocking a rail crossing on Piper Avenue that leads to a dead-end street on the south side of the track.
Several vehicles were trapped on the south side and Global News cameras witnessed a number of frustrated pedestrians climb up, on and over the stopped train. One person was even seen carrying their dog over the train.
A frustrated motorist told Global News they were stuck on the south side of the track for two-and-a-half hours, despite repeated assurances from rail crew that the wait would be just 30 minutes.
CN spokesperson Jonathan Abecassis said the disruption was caused by a broken coupler, and that replacing the part was time-consuming.
“I completely understand. Again, we apologize for it. We’re not in the business of having our trains stop. This is a mechanical issue, it’s not the kind of thing that happens commonly,” he said.
“Unfortunately it did happen.”
But Abecassis said while CN was aware of the inconvenience and was sorry, someone could have been killed if they fell from the train.
“It’s never an okay option to climb on a train,” he said.
“The train can start moving at any moment and the behaviour is incredibly unsafe.”
Asked why, if repair would be time-consuming, no CN police were there to control the scene, Abecassis said officers did eventually attend.
He said CN police are stepping up their presence at crossings in order to boost public education.