A broken down train in Telkwa caused a messy commute for residents needing to cross the tracks early Friday morning.
CN said a mechanical failure was to blame for the almost two hour hold-up but the train was repaired and on its way later in the morning.
Mayor Darcy Repen called the situation frightening.
“For the community, the biggest concern was one of safety, it was a school day, it was -26 and we had kids waiting outside for buses that weren’t coming,” he said. “We also crossed our fingers that there wasn’t a medical emergency or fire or anything that could happen that would put us in a difficult situation, adding time to our response time.”
He added that things need to change and that he is certainly aware of the problem.
“It isn’t the first time that it has happened and we’ve raised the issue before. But this was a wake-up call in being able to point out the real liabilities when you have a day like today when it is so cold,” he said. “We are going to communicate with the different agencies and my expectation out of this is to get a better response plan especially involving CN, where there is no waiting to see what is going on with a train. If a train breaks down on a crossing that there is immediate response so that we can have people out in the community making sure everyone is safe and take a much quicker, more proactive response.”
Repen said he checked in with schools after the train got moving to make sure all the students got there safely.
“I know in my neighbourhood we have school aged kids and we were checking in with each other and making sure someone went to the bus stop to make sure they weren’t any waiting kids. That’s the beauty of a small town, we have the word of mouth communication.”
A day before, A CN freight train with 11 empty coal cars derailed between Prince Rupert and Terrace.
The derailment occurred at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, 35km east of Prince Rupert at the Tyee overpass.
“There are no injuries and no dangerous good involved, and no environmental issues,” said Kate Fenske, CN’s media relations for western Canada.
She added the cause of the derailment remains under investigation.
-with files from Shannon Lough