‘A playground for teenagers’: Trespassing common on tracks where teen was fatally struck by train

A 17-year-old boy lost his life Tuesday afternoon after being hit by a train near Bowmont Park in Calgary's northwest. Margot Rubin reports.

By Margot Rubin and Michael Ranger

Community members in northwest Calgary are reflecting after a teen lost his life after being hit by a train.

A single heart could be seen hanging from a park sign Wednesday near where a 17-year-old boy was killed a day earlier.

The teen was hit by a passing freight train on a rail bridge near Bowmont Park on Tuesday afternoon. Residents are calling the incident a tragedy, but sadly, not an unexpected one.

Witnesses tell CityNews there were three teens on the tracks near the Bow River when a Canadian Pacific train approached. Only two managed to get out of the way.

“Me and my friend were taking a walk and we happened to see two of the teenagers on the train bridge,” says a witness. “We saw the two that survived get off safely, but fortunately we didn’t see anything other than that”

Fire crews had to retrieve the third teen from a lagoon-area below the bridge and bring him to waiting paramedics. The teen was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Another witness who wanted to remain anonymous says she didn’t hear any shouting before the crash, but did hear the abrupt noise of the train stopping.

teen struck by train

Residents call the area of the collision “a playground for teenagers,” saying they frequently witness teens climbing fences near the track and jumping off the bridge into the water below. The track is fenced off but their have been reports of people cutting holes in order to cross the bridge area.

Officials have not yet said why the group was on the tracks.

“I have a daughter, she’s 29, she attended Bowness High School and says kids have been doing this for years,” says a resident.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada reported fatality and injuries related to trespassing are above the five-year historical average. The industry is urging people to stay of train tracks.

“Tracks are for transit, they are not trails, they are not for walking on,” says Chris Day, Interim National Director with Operation Lifesaver. “Our main message is no trespassing on railways, and no using railway bridges or railway cars for recreation.”

Day is reminding people that trespassing on railway property is not just dangerous, it’s also illegal.

Calgary police say they quickly concluded their investigation into the fatal collision, calling it a non-criminal incident.

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