Transit police issue warning to SkyTrain users: Stay off the tracks

Granville SkyTrain station. Wikimedia Commons user

A photo has been posted on Reddit of a man crouching on a SkyTrain track, apparently trying to dig out something that’s stuck — and Metro Vancouver Transit Police have a message for him.

Transit police Sgt. Clint Hampton said there’s a number of reasons why someone might try to enter a SkyTrain guideway.

“It does happen,” Hampton said. “There’s various reasons, sometimes somebody’s dropped something in and they think: ‘Oh, I’ll just jump in and grab it out’. Sometimes it’s, you know, people might be intoxicated or high, perhaps their friends are daring them, they’re goofing around and doing something stupid.”

Whatever the reason, Hampton said it’s not worth the risk.

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“Honestly, somebody in the guideway attempting to dig something out — they’re cheating death. There’s live power rails that are in the guideway, not to mention they move trains. You know, if a train was coming into a station or leaving a station, the potential for a person to be very seriously injured or even killed is very real.”

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Hampton said if a train does enter a station while someone is on the tracks, there’s emergency brakes in place to prevent tragedies from happening — but there’s no guarantee the train will actually be able to stop in time.

“There is an emergency stop that can be pressed, and that will stop trains from coming in. But again, a train is a big, heavy machine coming at a high rate of speed. You know, even hitting the emergency stop — things take time, it’s not an immediate stop,” Hampton said.

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“So there’s still a level of risk there.”

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Hampton said transit police do get notified of incidents from time to time, but they’re not always there to stop it in the moment. One incident saw a photo posted on Instagram of a woman sitting with her legs dangling over the edge of a platform — as a train approaches in the background.

A comment on the original post from Metro Vancouver Transit Police’s Instagram account reads, “In this photo you illegally entered the guideway (track area). You would have been issued a fine, had we seen you. More importantly though, what you are doing is extremely dangerous. It’s easy to underestimate how quickly and quietly the trains enter the station, and there is always the risk of slipping and falling. Given the potential for extremely serious and painful consequences, we hope you will stay well back from the yellow line from now on.”

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Hampton said the risk makes posing for a photo like that “really not worthwhile”.

And Hampton said if transit police do catch you in the act, you’ll be hit with a $86 fine.

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