Traffic into south Hammond in Maple Ridge was blocked for two and a half hours Friday morning after a freight train collided with a southbound SUV at the CP Rail tracks and Ditton Road.
A woman and girl were in the vehicle and taken to hospital, but were able to walk on their own to the awaiting stretchers and paramedics, witnesses said.
It’s not certain how the accident happened, but one resident says she’s always careful crossing the tracks at that location and that sometimes there’s a delay between the time the lights and bells go off and the crossing arm comes down.
“Sometimes the lights go off and the arms don’t go down. People have to realize, you have use a bit of precaution at the railways,” said Edina Soper, who lives on the south side of the tracks.
She has to cross the tracks several times a day, as do other mothers taking their kids back and forth to school.
Sometimes, she’s even seen motorists weaving their way through the crossing arms, trying to cross the tracks, as a train approaches.
“As soon as I see the lights, even if the arms aren’t coming down, I stop.”
She’s extra cautious at the crossing farther west at Lorne Street because there’s a bit of a rise that obscures vision.
The CP train was moved and the track cleared just before 11 a.m. Friday, restoring access to Hammond.
Maple Ridge Fire Chief Howard Exner said that by the time the train stopped, it was blocking both Ditton and Lorne streets, cutting off access to Hammond.
“It could have delayed response to that area.”
But fire rescue and CP Rail police have worked out a plan allowing the train to be moved quickly should a fire break out on the other side of the tracks, Exner said.