Sgt. Rupert Sutherland of the CP Rail police was in Nelson this week enforcing trespassing laws on the rail tracks. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Sgt. Rupert Sutherland of the CP Rail police was in Nelson this week enforcing trespassing laws on the rail tracks. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

CP Rail ticketing track walkers in Nelson

Crossing the tracks other than at a traffic crossing is trespassing, company says

Walking on the railroad tracks. Don’t we all do it occasionally?

Crossing the tracks on foot, not at a traffic crossing. It seems innocent enough.

But if the Canadian Pacific Railway Police Service has its way, we will all be educated and enforced into realizing that in taking these shortcuts we are trespassing on private property.

Sgt. Rupert Sutherland and three other officers were in Nelson this week patrolling the tracks and handing out tickets to anyone setting foot on them.

The tickets are given under the federal Railway Safety Act, and the penalty is a $115 fine, with a court appearance for repeat offenders and for especially dangerous behaviour like riding trains.

It’s about safety and liability, Sutherland told the Star.

“We are trying to reduce fatalities and serious injuries. Unfortunately, we’re still seeing significant numbers across Canada,” he said.

In Canada in 2019 there were 56 incidents on CP rail tracks (not at legitimate crossings) resulting in 38 deaths and 17 serious injuries, according to Sutherland.

Fatalities have increased since wearing earbuds became popular, he added.

Although he said Nelson is considered a high priority for enforcement, he had no statistics on the number of incidents, injuries or deaths on Nelson area tracks, and CP’s head office could not provide the Star with any.

CP police officers have the same powers as any other police officer in Canada. They can detain, arrest, use force, search, and compel people to court. Their jurisdiction is anywhere within 500 metres of the tracks or CP property.

Sutherland says that even though members of the CP police are hired and paid by the company they are agents of the Crown.

“There are misconceptions in the public, that we are private security or we are ‘corporate goons’ and all that type of terminology. But we are completely separate from the company.”

He said CP does not have access to the details of their investigations or other police work.

Sutherland said the homeless camps just west of Nelson beside the tracks are also a safety concern.

“It may sound like stereotyping, and I don’t mean to do that, but a large proportion of the transient people that we find in these camps have either alcohol or drug addiction issues, so that has an increased risk.”

Nelson’s Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan for the Railtown area, completed in 2016, states that a railway crossing or a pedestrian overpass near the former CP station would effectively connect Cottonwood Park and the Railtown district to Kootenay Lake and the waterfront pathway.

“A pedestrian overpass would help to resolve safety issues of people crossing the tracks at unplanned areas, and would help to create a better Nelson-wide connected network for active transportation and recreation,” the plan states.

City planner Pam Mierau told the Star that a local CP employee was on the stakeholder group during the creation of the plan but, when she attempted to communicate with higher levels at CP to start a discussion about a Railtown crossing, the company didn’t seem interested.

“We tried, but we never got very far,” she said, adding the clarification that never in the process did CP commit to building a crossing or an overpass.

In Railtown, CP owns not only the railway tracks but a significant piece of the undeveloped land between the tracks and Lakeside Drive.

Related:

Promised park at Nelson recycle depot site still a long way off

Nelson council approves Railtown development plan



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

The Coldest Night of the Year event will raise money for the local Getting to Home program. Walk virtually or in-person on Feb. 20 – there’s a place for everyone! Photo: Trail Times
Be part of Coldest Night of the Year; be part of a solution for Trail

Proceeds from the Feb. 20 fundraiser will be directed into Getting to Home

KBFR
Driver taken to hospital after hitting ditch near Genelle

Kootenay Boundary first responders attend single vehicle accident, RCMP investigate

Ron Clarke has his MBA and is owner of JBS Business Services in Trail, providing accounting and tax services.
COVID-19: How do you spell retirement?

Here’s a resolution some business owners may have made a few weeks ago, “I aspire to retire.”

Lauriente’s Clothing always made sure to have beautiful displays in the front window of their Rossland Avenue store. Photo: Trail Historical Society
Trail Blazers: Lauriente’s kept locals dressed in the finest fashion

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Vaccine rollout is focused on health care workers first, especially those dealing with long-term care facilities. (Nathan Denette - Canadian Press)
General public shouldn’t expect vaccines until fall: Interior Health South Okanagan Similkameen

Interior Health focused on vaccinating long-term and first-line care workers

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Most Read