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Via Rail Tragedy Gives Pause for Reflection

by on February 29, 2012

We pause today to remember the three lives that were lost in Sunday’s Via Rail derailment in Burlington, Ontario.

Peter Snarr, Ken Simmonds, and Patrick Robinson had both their lives and careers cut tragically short in a horrific accident on Sunday, February 26, 2012.

We send our heartfelt condolences to these men’s families, friends, and co-workers. This latest incident brings to the forefront once again the issue of rail safety for both rail employees, and for the communities in which this industry has a presence.

We also would like to send our sympathies to the family and friends of the several recent pedestrian fatalities – all resulting from the seemingly innocent, but highly dangerous decision to take a walk down a railway corridor, oblivious to the threat of a train approaching from behind, the crew unable to stop in time to avert disaster.

Having said this, we think it is also important to acknowledge the trauma that the crews of these pedestrian fatalities are confronted with, a reality too often not acknowledged in the ensuing media reports of these incidents to the public.

On a more personal note, I will always remember a meeting that I once attended along with railway representatives addressing local community issues.

It became immediately evident that one of the railway’s staff in attendance at this meeting was quite distracted, his face clouded over in concern. He explained that, the night before, he was present at a gruesome accident scene nearby, again involving a pedestrian fatality due to trespassing on the railway’s tracks.

It definitely made me stop to consider the ripple effect that all rail fatalities have, how many people these incidents touch and scar, and how many memories are indelibly marked as a result.

Today’s post is for our railway employees, and we pause to reflect on the three lives lost from amongst your own.

To any member of the public wanting to take a stroll down the local railway tracks – stop, because the train bearing down behind you might not be able to in time. Avoiding this, the most preventable of rail tragedies, is literally in your own hands.

© Copyright 2012


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