Slowpoke trains bother northwestern B.C. MP

Nathan Cullen wants feds to fine CN for blocking traffic crossings

NDP MP Nathan Cullen wants the federal government to start fining CN for blocking level crossings.

“It’s not only a nuisance for folks who are trying to get to work or make an appointment on time,” said Cullen of trains blocking level crossings.

“It’s becoming a safety hazard, because we’ve heard reports of people who get fed up after waiting thirty minutes or an hour, and they get out of their cars and walk between rail cars to get across. And it’s an even more serious hazard if there’s an emergency situation, and a freight train is blocking the only road in or out.”

Cullen said legislation sets out fines that could run as high as $100,000 should trains from blocking crossings for more than five minutes.

“But we’ve seen a failure to act by CN, and a lack of enforcement from the government. The [transportation] minister has to realize that the safety and mobility of our communities is at stake, and it’s time they start enforcing the rules, and looking at new infrastructure options like new overpasses to increase access and safety,” he said.

Rail traffic along the CN main line has been increasing steadily with the opening of a new container port in Prince Rupert and the general growth of commodity exports.

CN has been spending heavily to build sidings along its rail line to handle more and longer trains but that work has yet to be matched by constructing overpasses.

Cullen did say that the issue is not entirely new but that CN is ignoring public frustrations.