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NOTE: This blog title sums up the present state of passenger rail in Canada.

WINDSOR STAR - A train travelling from Windsor to Toronto clipped a John Deere lawn mower east of Chatham.
The 83-year-old lawn mower driver was wearing ear protection while cutting grass and did not hear the train coming, according to a police news release. He was not injured.
Damage to the lawn mower was estimated at about $1,500. Police said no charges will be laid.

Maxime Dupont-Demers, spokesman for VIA Rail, said the train made an emergency stop after it struck the mower at a crossing between fields where there are no lights or barriers. Police said it was near the intersection of Kent Bridge Road and Northwood Line.

“There is a right of passage for tractors there,” he said in an email. He said the mower driver was not injured, nor were any of the train passengers.
Dupont-Demers said the train has the right of way and whistles at all crossings.

“The tractor would wait for the train to pass,” he said, adding he didn’t have information as to why the tractor was crossing while the train was coming.

Train 72 left Windsor around 9 a.m. and was scheduled to arrive in Toronto about 1 p.m. A notice on the website indicated the train would likely arrive in Toronto around 3:30 p.m.

A new crew was brought aboard to continue with the train’s scheduled route. Passengers were notified by email that there could be a delay.

Terence Johnson, president of the Southwestern Ontario Transportation Alliance, said he was relieved no one was injured in the collision.
A report by the alliance called for upgrades to tracks, grade crossings and trains.

“The kind of investment in safety and reliability that we’re seeing across the border in Michigan can’t come to Ontario soon enough,” Johnson said.
Dupont-Demers added train 71 from Toronto to Windsor may be a bit late. The next trains should be on time.