03/13/2013 08:26 EDT | Updated 05/13/2013 05:12 EDT

Smithers Residents Trapped By Parked Trains At Crossings

Some people in northwestern B.C. say they are being trapped by trains blocking rail crossings around their homes for extended periods and they fear it will get worse.

Trains frequently block the only road in and out of Mike Rosger's home near Smithers for 30 minutes at a time, and sometimes for over an hour.

"When that train is stopped, we're basically being held hostage by CN," said Rosger.

"I've actually seen people park their cars and cross the train, like climb over the train to get to the other side."

Rosger worries if there is an emergency ambulance and fire crews won't be able to get through.

"I think it will take a death to happen before anything really takes place," said Rosger.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said he has heard similar complaints.

”We're talking hundreds, maybe thousands of people being separated by these tracks," said Cullen.

Under the Railway Safety Act, CN Rail can be fined up to $100,000 for blocking a road for more than five minutes.

Cullen says the federal government needs to enforce that rule and the railway needs to build more overpasses.

Train traffic is expected to double in the north within the next couple of years, and some fear that will make the situation worse.

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