Five people have died after their vehicles collided with trains at rail crossings in Manitoba in just five weeks — now, the RCMP are calling for vigilance on the road.
“It’s imperative that people pay attention,” Manitoba RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Paul Manaigre said in a phone interview Sunday.
“You need to stop and physically look — you’ve got to turn your head to see if a train is approaching — some of these trains on the main lines are travelling over 100 kilometres an hour.”
Friday evening, Mounties went to the scene of a crash just north of the Trans-Canada Highway near Road 66 North, about 41 km west of Portage la Prairie, where one person was pronounced dead after they drove their SUV through a rail crossing arm.
Last week, three men were killed after their van hit a train in west Manitoba east of Strathclair, RCMP said — four people were inside the van when it was travelling north before it was struck by a Canadian Pacific train headed west.
A month ago, another man was killed west of Portage la Prairie after his SUV was struck by a train.
“Compare… the size of a train to the size of a vehicle, it’s a race you’re not going to win,” said Manaigre.
“Trains, thousands of tonnes rolling down the line, they can’t stop quickly. I believe this collision (Friday evening), by the time the conductor was aware a collision occurred, it took five miles for this train to come to a stop.”
The recent rash of deaths comes ahead of a rail safety awareness campaign helmed by Canadian National Railway — Rail Safety Week — that launches Monday.