Urban and Rural development across Canada brings many benefits, but it can also bring people in closer contact with trains. When that happens, people living close to railway operations sometimes hear noise associated with trains such as train whistles. This is mostly a concern during the summer months when windows are open and people spend more of their time outdoors. This is the subject of my Blog this week. Although we love the warmer temperatures and especially when more than half of the year we were in a deep freeze, here in the City of Warman putting up with train whistles during the night is a part of that same season. A part of the season we DO NOT enjoy. This nightly occurrence and sleep interruption is hard to take.
Train whistles are safety devices that alert pedestrians and motorists of an approaching train. These whistles become necessary at uncontrolled crossings.
An uncontrolled crossing is where a road crosses train tracks and there are no safety measures in place such as flashing lights, bells, and gates (FLB) or an audible signal of any kind to warn people and/or vehicles of an approaching train.
While these regulations are designed to ensure the safety of railways and the people and vehicles using public crossings, the regulations do not take into consideration the impact the noise has on the residents who live in close proximity to rail yards and train tracks. This is a safety precaution we all can understand.
What we do not understand or feel we need to tolerate is the excessive use of the train whistle when an operator lays on the horn throughout the whole community at the wee hours of the morning waking many people. I live blocks away from the train tracks and the sound carries right through the community.
According to Canadian Rail Operating rules, train whistles are monitored by an on- board computer located in the locomotive cab. If a problem occurs it can be checked to ensure the locomotive engineer used the whistle in accordance with federal regulations. If this is true we as citizens of a community, where the rail runs through the city, should be making formal complaints of concerns to the appropriate governing body, in this case that would be Transport Canada. However Transport Canada does ask that the carrier, in this case CN, be notified of the concern first. I have included contact information for both Transport Canada and Canadian National Railways.
Municipalities have the option to take steps to pass a Bylaw that prohibits whistling in certain locations. The hitch in this process is long and comes with a lot of consultation at the municipalities’ expense. The City would be responsible for the cost of installing and maintaining any additional safety measures including warning systems. This is extremely costly for the municipality and the application must still be reviewed by Transport Canada. Liability concerns are also raised when considering this option.
I would think all of this could be avoided if a little common sense and consideration for a sleeping community was considered.
Warman City Council addressed some concerns brought forward at the May 23rd Council meeting and it was decided to forward a letter to Canadian National Railway. It is our hope once CN is aware of the problem we can work together to find a solution that will work for all parties.
I would like to hear feedback from both sides on this issue. Is there something we as community members do not understand from CN's point of view?
A loud noise at one end and some sense of responsibility at the other.
If you are considering filing a complaint, please read the Guidelines for the Resolution of Complaints Concerning Railway Noise and Vibration.
Web site: www.cta.gc.ca
Available in multiple formats
CN Public Inquiries