Public should report long waits at rail crossing: mayor

The Town of Fort Frances is asking motorists who have to wait more than five minutes at the McIrvine Road train crossing to speak up so the town can lobby the Canadian National Railway to eliminate the delays.
“Over the last couple of months, I have received several complaints from the general public and the town staff regarding traffic stoppage longer than five minutes at the McIrvine Road railway crossing,” Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown said in a written report to council Monday.
Brown added he contacted the Transport Canada Railway Signal System Inspector regarding the delays.
“He has informed me that the maximum time that vehicle traffic can be delayed is five minutes, and that the public, as a whole, should start recording the date, time, engine number, etc. anytime the delays are longer than five minutes,” Brown wrote.
“Also, the town should direct their issues to CNR first to allow them to alleviate their operational concerns.”
In order to ensure “a uniform front from the town’s point of view,” Brown said the Operations and Facilities division will contact CNR once five complaints are received.
“It’s a growing problem,” said Mayor Dan Onichuk after reading Brown’s report aloud at Monday night’s council meeting here.
“I’ve heard it for the last three years. People are stopping and waiting 10 and 15, and eight and 12 minutes, and it’s not supposed to happen,” he added.
“With the reality of the ‘two-mile train’ sneaking into the area, it’s going to get worse,” the mayor warned. “We have to address this situation.”
Mayor Onichuk noted citizens who are held up at the crossing for more than five minutes should record the date, time, and, if possible, the engine number and call Public Works at 274-9893.
“Call it in so the town can make a record of it,” he stressed.
Coun. Neil Kabel clarified for the public that if the town gets complaints, it will file them with the CNR. But if no one complains, nothing will get done.
“They [CNR] are being allowed to stretch the rules. If they can get away with it, they’ll keep doing it,” said Mayor Onichuk.
“The more complaints we get about it, the more we’ll be able to solidify our case. Perhaps CN should pay the cost of an overpass on McIrvine Road,” he added.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea. It would eliminate this problem forever,” the mayor said.