Train makes emergency stop; blocks tracks

Trespassing jogger narrowly escapes in east Vancouver

By Craig Brown, Columbian Metro Editor



A BNSF Railway freight train had to make an emergency stop to avoid a trespassing jogger in east Vancouver on Wednesday morning. The emergency stop resulted in access being cut off to the Steamboat Landing subdivision for several hours.

The incident unfolded at 9:15 a.m. Gus Melonas, a spokesman for BNSF, said. A freight train was heading westbound toward Vancouver when the crew happened upon a man on the tracks about 1,600 feet east of the Interstate 205 overpass.

The man was dressed in jogging clothes, and was not near a railroad crossing, Melonas said. He stood immobile on the tracks, as if playing chicken, then jumped out of the way at the last moment and began sprinting along Evergreen Highway.

The engineer applied the emergency brakes to stop the train.

Railroad police and Vancouver officers searched the surrounding neighborhoods for more than an hour but were unable to locate the trespasser, Melonas said.

Meanwhile, the train had to be manually inspected after the emergency stop. That took about an hour and 20 minutes. During that time, access to the Steamboat Landing subdivision along the Columbia River was blocked, Melonas said, inconveniencing residents.

No one was reported injured, and the train was allowed to continue after it was inspected.

The spot where the incident occurred is not far from the place where a 15-year-old girl was killed in September 2010 while she was walking along the tracks.

The railroad tracks along the Columbia River through east Vancouver are part of the BNSF’s main line to the Midwest and carry dozens of trains daily. There is no legal public access to the tracks.

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