'Footage that will make you tense to watch': GRT releasing videos of near misses with ION trains
Grand River Transit is releasing new videos every day this week showing close calls with its ION trains.
It is part of their Rail Safety Week campaign, with the goal of increasing awareness around the region’s LRT tracks.
The videos will show near-misses with other vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.
“It’s footage that will make you tense to watch and cause your belly to rise,” Regional Councillor Tom Galloway said in a release. “But it’s an important reminder that everyone -- transit users, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers -- need to pay attention to their surroundings.”
In the first video, a pedestrian can be seen crossing the street in front of an approaching LRT. They then drop their phone near the tracks, and crouch down to pick it up, despite the fact that the train is just a few metres away.
The videos are meant to show how distracted walking, cycling and driving can have serious and sometimes tragic consequences.
Grand River Transit says in each instance, the LRT operators were able to safely stop the train before a collision.
“They do have some jarring videos,” said Peter Zinck, the Director of Transit Services for the Region of Waterloo. “It’s just raise awareness around this issue because there’s moving vehicles. There’s moving people around, and sometimes people aren’t always watching what’s going on around them.”
According to officials, there have been seven near hits with ION trains and seven collisions with other vehicles.
That includes a crash earlier this month in Kitchener between an ION train and a car.
“We’d like to get to zero,” said Zinck. “We’d like to not have any of these incidents. It’s really about being aware as you interact with the trains.”
Metrolinx, which operates local GO trains, also weighed in on the safety message.
“It’s important to never underestimate how fast the trains go, and to adhere to the signs and safety measures in place,” said Nitish Bissonauth, a media relations spokesperson for Metrolinx.
Grand River Transit will be releasing the videos on their social media and YouTube channels.