An Île-Perrot mother says she and her four-year-old daughter are grateful to be alive after coming within seconds of being struck by a freight train.
Amanda Collins was on her way to pick her son up from school when she drove over a snow-covered railway crossing.
She drove over the first set of tracks, then skidded and came to a stop in the deep snow, right on top of the second set of tracks.
“I reversed and went forward repeatedly,” Collins said. “I heard the train honking at me like crazy, and I looked over, and I could see it coming at me.”
She and her daughter escaped from the car just before it was struck by the Canadian National freight train.
“[My daughter] was screaming ‘No, mommy, no!’ when it hit the car, and I’ve never seen her react so emotionally to anything like that before,” Collins said.
Canadian National says its trains were rolling slower than usual because of bad weather, and that it’s still investigating the incident.
The City of Île-Perrot is responsible for keeping the tracks clear, and it says a snow plow cleared the roads between 2 and 3 p.m. — just before Collins drove over the tracks.
‘It could have been so different’
Her car is a write-off, and Collins doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to replace it.
Collins, a single mother of two, recently moved back to her native Quebec from British Columbia to find work and because of the cheaper cost of living.
Having a car is crucial for her, she says, and she isn’t used to relying on other people to get around.
Some of her friends have started an online fundraiser to help Collins replace her vehicle.
She says for now, she is just happy she and her daughter are alive.
“It could have been so different,” Collins said. “I could have been waking up in a hospital room. It was really close.”