Train breaks down, blocks access to Crescent Beach

Incident marks third time this year that a train blocked access to the popular beach

A northbound coal train broke down near Crescent Beach Friday evening, blocking access roads to and from the beach.

BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas said a “mechanical issue” forced engineers to stop the train for repairs.

“Inspection first and then determined that we had to change out components. It was a delay, unfortunately,” Melonas told Peace Arch News Monday.

The train was delayed for approximately two hours, he said.

Crescent Beach resident Erik Seiz said the train broke down while rounding the 24 Avenue track curve at approximately 7:40 p.m. and remained stationary until 8 p.m. He said the train was then split and the north half was cleared from the Beecher Street crossing.

The second half, Seiz said, wasn’t removed until 10 p.m.

Seiz told PAN via email that this is the third time this year that a train has broken down while rounding the 24 Avenue track curve and has blocked access into and out of Crescent Beach.

Last May, a train blocked access for 45 minutes and in July, access was blocked for two hours.

On Sept. 17, Surrey council formalized a request to BNSF to have the 10mph speed boundary for the swing bridge at the north end of Crescent be extended south to include the 24 Avenue curve.

“If trains that brake while rounding the sharp curve at 24th Avenue, instead entered the populated beach area at slower and more consistent speed, it is believed brake related failures would be less likely to happen inside the community,” Seiz wrote to PAN.

However, Melonas says that speed was not an issue on the Dec. 7 incident.

“We have an investigation internally underway. Not speculating, investigating,” Melonas said. “I don’t have further details on the investigation.”

Melonas said that BNSF has “no further detail” on the request the City of Surrey formalized last September. When pushed for details on what happened to the request, Melonas said “ask the city.”

The City of Surrey has yet to respond to request for comment.

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