A Langley resident has posted a video online that shows people crawling underneath and between the cars of a freight train while it was stopped on the tracks in Fort Langley at the intersection of Glover Road and Billy Brown Road on Sunday.
“It was surreal,” said Kelly Frederick, who started recording video with her cellphone as she tried to convince people to use a nearby overhead pedestrian walkway that crosses the tracks rather than risk injury.
“It was so dangerous.”
She said at least one other person was urging people not to cross, and while some heeded the warnings, she estimates about two dozen impatient people, both adults and teenagers, decided to take their chances.
Frederick witnessed the moment when two young people crawled underneath one of the cars, less than 10 seconds before the train started moving again. No one was injured.
“I couldn’t understand why they were in such a hurry,” Frederick said.
The video has gone viral since she decided to post it on Facebook, with more than 170,000 views as of Tuesday morning.
Frederick said she put the clip online to make a point about safety.
“The rails need to be respected,” Frederick said.
CN and CP Rail both run trains through the tracks that pass through Fort Langley, crossing Glover Road near Mavis Avenue.
Last year in Canada, 72 people died and 44 were seriously injured by trains.
Over the last 10 years, almost 1,200 people have been killed or seriously injured.
Sarah Mayes, national director of Operation Lifesaver, the national body that promotes rail crossing safety, called the incident “disturbing.”
“As you can see (in the video), stopped trains can re-start any time,” Mayes said.
“Those kids were lucky.”
Funded by the Railway Association of Canada and Transport Canada, Operation Lifesaver works with the rail industry, governments, law enforcement, labour groups, the media, and other organizations and communities to increase awareness about rail safety.
Mayes said the number of people getting killed or hurt in so-call “trespass” incidents at railway crossings in Canada is “creeping up”.
It appears the closer people live to train tracks, the more likely they are to take chances by trespassing, Mayes said.
She said what was also concerning about the video was presence of people on a second set of tracks, who run the risk of being caught unaware by a second train.
There was an incident in February in Eastern Canada where a man out for a jog, climbed between the cars of a stationary train and was fatally injured when he was hit by another train on a second set of tracks.