By Andru McCracken

When CN Rail parks a train on its siding across John Peterson’s property in Dunster it means he and his grandson don’t have access to their cattle.

“It’s a farm crossing, so CN tells me they can block it as much as they want,” said Peterson. “Sometimes it’s blocked for 12 to 16 hours.”

Peterson’s grandson J. D. Cardinal keeps 100 yearling feeder cattle and is prevented from checking on them.

“We have some problems with predators and there is work that needs to be done,” said Cardinal.

He said the crossing is blocked twice a week for most of the day.

“I’m heading over there to do maintenance on a fence or check on my cattle to make sure they are alive; when it’s blocked I can’t do anything,” he said. “I’ll call and they usually tell me how long it’s going to be and it’s usually more than six hours.”

Cardinal said sometimes the crossing is blocked by just two cars.

“Half the time they are blocking the crossing it’s due to a derailment, then it makes complete sense, but sometimes it is only two cars blocking the crossing,” he said.

In that case the two cars could easily be moved forward or back to allow the ranchers to cross, but

often there is no crew on scene, so the train can’t be moved.

“We need to get better at working together,” said Cardinal.

CN’s media team said they understand.

“CN understands the concerns of this resident and, even if operations sometimes require unscheduled stoppages, CN will continue to work hard to minimize the impacts.”

In case of an emergency, citizens can contact the CN police communication center at 1-800-465-9239.