Locomotive engineer: “I was blowing the whistle, but they couldn’t hear me”

“Locomotive Engineers are the kind of people that like to feel we have control. We control our train, and yet when an incident happens, we have no control at all.” —Steve Mitchell, retired locomotive engineer

Operation Lifesaver has embarked upon a series of interviews with railway employees to share with our readers the effects of an incident.

Steve, on his last trip of his railway career, March 27, 2015.

Steve, on his last trip of his railway career, March 27, 2015.

While an incident is tragic for all those involved, rarely has the train crew’s experience been captured. Often overlooked by the media, we want to give you a first-hand glimpse into the long-term effects an incident has on the train crew, their coping skills, and what motivates them to get up every day and do the job.

In this installment, we caught up with recently retired locomotive engineer, Steve Mitchell, who shared his first-hand account of one of the incidents he experienced in his 37 years working in the railway.


What does it feel like to be involved in a trespassing incident or fatality?

What usually happens in the aftermath of a fatality?

What kind of lasting impact has being involved in a railway incident or fatality had on you and how did it impact how you did your job?

Are you able to tell us about any particular incident?

What’s one thing that you would like Canadians to know about rail safety? What would you like them to think about when they see train tracks and railway property?

For more real life rail safety stories check out: