Here comes the train again.

The McLeod River Post - - Front Page - Ian McInnes

We’ve all heard it from near or far, the train whis­tle as it ap­proaches an in­ter­sec­tion. Four times I think is the re­quire­ment to blast the whis­tle for in­ter­sec­tions that do not meet cer­tain safety re­quire­ments. I know first hand that train whis­tles, es­pe­cially at night, dis­rupt sleep pat­terns for any­one liv­ing close enough to hear them. I also won­der about the af­fects on health for sleep dis­rup­tion, chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion, work per­for­mance and, health in general due to the deci­bel level and tim­ing.

I have read that the max­i­mum deci­bel out­put from a train whis­tle is 110 deci­bels. I have also read that re­peated noises above 85 deci­bels could cause hear­ing loss. If safety reg­u­la­tions were changed could CN rail, other rail op­er­a­tors and reg­u­la­tors be on the hook for this? Quite pos­si­bly.

Some peo­ple will be think­ing that the trains have been whistling or years and that there is noth­ing they can do to stop it. That as­sump­tion is in­cor­rect. You have the power.

Check out: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/rail­safety/rail­safety-976.html “If you are a res­i­dent want­ing to stop train whis­tles in your neigh­bour­hood, con­tact your mu­nic­i­pal­ity. If the mu­nic­i­pal­ity agrees to pro­ceed with your re­quest, it must fol­low the whistling ces­sa­tion pro­ce­dure de­tailed be­low. In brief, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity must con­sult with the rail­way com­pany to as­sess the fea­si­bil­ity of the re­quest; no­tify the pub­lic and other in­ter­ested par­ties of their in­tent; and ul­ti­mately pass a coun­cil res­o­lu­tion to stop the whistling. The pro­ce­dure pro­motes the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and rail­way com­pa­nies in en­sur­ing grade cross­ings re­main safe.”

To kick the process off you as a res­i­dent or a group of res­i­dents must con­tact your mu­nic­i­pal­ity in the first in­stance. Then it is up to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to con­sult with the rail op­er­a­tor to take the mat­ter for­ward, which may not al­ways be easy. Once ev­ery­thing is agreed it is up to Trans­port Canada to de­cide. If reg­u­la­tions put the gov­ern­ment agency on the hook for health dam­ages too that may be quite a mo­ti­va­tion.

Changes to in­ter­sec­tions to stop train whistling are not that dif­fi­cult or in­deed ex­pen­sive to put in place. In March 2017, it was re­ported that safety im­prove­ments to eight rail­way cross­ings in Ed­mon­ton would cost around $745,000 for all of them and should stop the ne­ces­sity for trains to whis­tle at the in­ter­sec­tions. The city was re­ported as pay­ing for the work but that up to 80 per cent of the cost would be re­im­bursed by Trans­port Canada. That’s a net cost of around $149,000 for eight, or around $18,600 each, which is peanuts in to­day’s bud­get rounds.

The elec­tions are upon us. Don’t like the whis­tles? Get on to your mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Stock photo The McLeod River Post

Changes to in­ter­sec­tions to stop train whistling are not that dif­fi­cult or in­deed ex­pen­sive to put in place.

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