CN has every intention of finding someone to fill its vacant police position along the western portion of its line between Prince George and Prince Rupert, says a statement from the company.
Vacant for a year, this section of the line is now being covered by a Prince George-based CN police officer.
But that’s for only two days a month, Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc pointed out in a recent council discussion framed around CN’s refusal to back a bid by the city to apply for senior government grants to build a pedestrian overpass spanning its railyard which now divides the city.
The overpass would require the use of CN land, something the company turned down in citing the possibility it might be needed to expand its operations based on an increase in traffic to and from the port at Prince Rupert.
Although an overpass has long been on the city’s list as a way to deter people from trespassing across the tracks, something that has resulted in deaths and injuries over the years, the city has also cited the need for fencing and CN policing.
When there has been a CN police officer in this area, the office has either been based in Prince Rupert or Terrace, patrolling the line from Prince Rupert to Telkwa with officers from Prince George travelling as far west as Houston.
“CN police officers conduct enforcement initiatives on a regular basis in Terrace, and also follow-up on particular issues that are reported or on train-related incidents,” the CN statement said about the current vacancy.
“If someone is aware of an emergency on CN property, we encourage them to call the CN Police immediately at 1-800-465-9239.”
CN officers in the past have said Terrace is the worst location for trespassing along CN’s tracks between Prince Rupert and Prince George.
There were two fatalities in 2021 when individuals on the tracks were struck by trains.
According to Transportation Safety Board of Canada statistics, people trespassing were struck by trains and killed here on May 29, 2021 and on July 19, 2021.
In both incidents, people stepped in front of fast moving trains, one at the eastern edge of CN’s railyard where the number of tracks narrow, acting as an enticement for people trying to cross from one side of Terrace to the other. The other fatality took place in the railyard proper between the area of Greig Ave. and Kalum St.
“In order to continue to carry out its mission to promote the importance of safety at railroad crossings and to warn of the dangers of trespassing on railroad property, CN is currently in the process of filling the vacancy,” the CN statement indicated.