Train, vehicle collision spurs investigation
A collision between a train and a vehicle blocked traffic in the area around Bishop Grandin Boulevard and Lakewood Boulevard Friday morning.
Police said the accident occurred at around 6:30 a.m., and the train was moved from the scene around 8:15 a.m.
According to Canadian Pacific Police, a westbound vehicle tried crossing the tracks, when it collided with a southbound freight train already crossing the road at Bishop Grandin.
Police said no injuries have been reported by the train crew. The car sustained extensive damage to its front end.
Winnipeg police said a teenage male adult driver of the vehicle sustained no serious injuries.
The train was so long it blocked traffic rail at all rail crossings leading up to Fermor Avenue.
Gordie Johnson of the band Big Sugar said the group was on their tour bus when they were woken up by the crash.
"(It) happened right in front of us. The tour bus stopped to let the train go by and then, I guess, I don't know if a car tried to rush through or something - so we got to witness a big ol' traffic accident," said Johnson.
Johnson said the tour bus driver backed down the shoulder to get around the crash, much to the dismay of local law enforcement.
Both Canadian Pacific and Winnipeg police are investigating, and there's no word on what charges, if any, will be laid against the driver of the vehicle.
Canadian Pacific said it was aware of safety issues at this crossing, and is in the process of upgrading the crossing to include gates and bells. There’s no timeline on when that will happen, but CP said the mechanics for the arms are already in place, the rail company is just waiting on Manitoba Hydro to supply power to the moving arms.
It's illegal to drive through a crossing where guard arms are down, but Brian Smiley from Manitoba Public Insurance said the rules are different when it comes to crossings with only flashing lights.
“That's where you use your judgment. If you can clearly see that the train is down the rails - perhaps they're doing some maintenance work and the signals are activated and that will happen - you can use your judgment and cross safely. But if you clearly see that that train is moving and quickly approaching, you need to stop," he said.
“It seems like almost once a month we’re seeing something that’s happening there,” said Alan Morris who lives nearby.
He said he’s surprised someone hasn’t been killed at that crossing.
“I see a lot of people unfortunately go when the lights are flashing, and they’re not checking both ways when they should be if the lights are on," he said.
- with a report from Cheryl Holmes