08/18/2014 06:55 EDT | Updated 10/18/2014 05:59 EDT

City of Saskatoon report calls for rail safety changes, re-routing trains

SASKATOON - A new report is calling for rail safety improvements in Saskatoon, including eventually re-routing trains outside the city.

Fire chief Dan Paulsen presented the report Monday to a city council committee.

He says long, slow trains are preventing emergency vehicles from responding to calls in some neighbourhoods.

Paulsen says with rail companies applying to the federal government to run even longer trains, it is important to deal with such concerns.

He says in the long run, the answer is to have trains routed around major population centres.

Paulsen says over the years communities were built around the rail lines, but it's coming to a point where the lines are cutting communities in half.

Mayor Don Atchison echoed Paulsen's desire to see the railways diverted around the city.

"It all boils down to money. The railways have all said the same thing: 'If you're willing to pay, we're willing to move,'" he said Monday.

But he pointed out that re-routing around Saskatoon would be no easy task.

"You're talking hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions," he said, noting that Saskatoon is just one of many cities that would like to see rail lines removed.

"Perhaps we need to be looking at a federal program that would help to mitigate some of these costs in moving rail tracks," he said. (CKOM)