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