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'The dangers are real,' REM officials warning to stay off tracks

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Officials with Montreal's Réseau express métropolitain (REM) are warning people in the Montreal area to stay off the tracks.

They will soon be running tests on the North Shore and West Island rail lines, which are scheduled to open next year.

They say some people have gotten into the habit of using the tracks as shortcuts.

"It’s serious, the dangers are real," said REM spokesperson Francis Labbé.  

By mid-June, REM test runs will begin between Saint-Eustache and Laval, expanding to the du Ruisseau Station and l'Anse-à-L'Orme.

"Trains will be more frequent," said Labbé. "On that railway, there haven’t been any trains passing by since 2021."

He says people need to remember that the tracks aren't a shortcut.

Over the past year, the REM has recorded nearly 60 cases of people jumping fences to cross the tracks or paint graffiti.

It has now launched an awareness campaign.

"To save five minutes, would you spend five months in a coma," reads one ad. "It's a question of life and death. Stay away from the REM tracks."

"We will also produce some TikTok content with an influencer to reach younger customers, younger population," said Labbé.

The trains run on electricity through overhead powerlines.

For its part, Hydro-Quebec is warning people to stay at least three metres away from a medium-voltage line.

Labbé says people who trespass, could be hit by a train or electrocuted.

"If you’re standing on the railway, you will just about be under three metres from the wires," said Labbé. "These persons will automatically put their lives at risk." 

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