CN responds to council’s concerns about impact of train whistles in Ethel Park

Back in March, members of Brock Township council passed a motion directing staff to work with CN to prevent trains from sounding a whistle as they pass through the Ethel Park subdivision in Beaverton.

This response is on the agenda for Monday’s meeting:

The following is with respect to the Township of Brock correspondence dated Tuesday, March 26, 2019 regarding proposed whistle cessation at the above-mentioned (Victoria Avenue) crossing.

While CN understands that whistling may be a nuisance at times, it is important to understand that CM is a federally regulated railway and as such is governed by the Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) which mandate whistling. Under CROR Rule 14(I), train crews are required to whistle in advance of all public crossings. Train whistles are safety devices that alert motorists and pedestrians to the presence of an approaching train and help warn trespassers away from the railway right-of-way. Train crews will also often use the whistle if there is a work project in the area to notify the work gang on or near the track that a train is approaching. CN believes that whistling is an important component of crossing safety.

In certain circumstances, a particular crossing may be exempted from the whistling requirements Section 23.1 of the Railway Safety Act sets out the process, which must be followed to implement whistle cessation in an area within a municipality.

Taking into account the requirements of the Railway Safety Act, CN requests the municipality to undertake the following steps in order to obtain this exemption:

  1. The Township of Brock must submit a detailed crossing safety assessment by a qualified external professional engineer evaluating the conditions at the crossing and within the crossing area. CN remains available to collaborate with the Township of Brock for the completion of the study.
  2. CN will review the crossing safety assessment for compliance with current engineering and regulatory requirements and provide comments and feedback. Costs associated with CN’s review and any costs incurred by CM in support of this assessment are reimbursable by Township of Brock.
  3. The municipality must notify relevant associations and organizations as well as give public notice of its intent to pass a resolution declaring that it agrees that whistles should not be used at the crossing. (N can provide you with the list of the relevant associations and organizations.
  4. Any mitigation measures identified by the safety assessment must be undertaken at the cost and expense of Township of Brock.
  5. Once it is determined that safety will not be compromised and that the crossing meets the prescribed conditions of Transport Canada pursuant to section 104 of the Glade Crossings Regulations and Appendix D of the Grade Crossing Standards, the municipality must then pass a resolution declaring that it agrees that whistles should not be used at the crossing.
  6. Upon receipt of the resolution. CN will issue special instructions to train crews advising them where train whistling may be required such as emergency situations and work near the track or where a railway safety inspector orders its use. Also, in order to maintain whistle cessation, the crossing and the crossing area will have to continue to conform to Transport Canada Standards and Regulations.

It is important to note that the implementation of whistle cessation does not preclude any circumstance where train whistling may be required such as emergency situations and work near the track or where a railway safety inspector orders its use. Also, in order to maintain whistle cessation, the crossing and the crossing area will have to continue to conform to Transport Canada Standards and Regulations.

Michael Orr
Public Works Officer
Canadian National Railwa

%d bloggers like this: