Innisfail may silence train whistles

Train whistles may be silenced at railway crossings in Innisfail. Innisfail town council will meet with Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. representatives in July to discuss the costs of whistle cessation and the rules and regulations of train whistles.

Train whistles may be silenced at railway crossings in Innisfail.

Innisfail town council will meet with Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. representatives in July to discuss the costs of whistle cessation and the rules and regulations of train whistles.

The town has four high traffic railway crossings that have been the site of collisions and derailments over the years.

However some residents have voiced concerns over the sound of the whistle that may sound every half hour on a busy day. In 2007, the town hired a consultant for a whistle cessation study. The council at that time decided not to go forward.

Now with a new council and new mayor at the helm, the town has decided to revisit whistle cessation and to get up to speed on the railway guidelines.

“We will be discussing some of these options again,” said Helen Dietz, chief executive officer of the town. “Everyone will familiarize themselves with the process. A number of communities have looked at different ways of not having the whistle. There are options around what that could look like and costs around what you would have to do to protect that environment without the whistle.”

Earlier this month, town council received two letters from a resident citing his concerns over the noise.

“I understand that the councils of the day have cited costs, legalities and other matters as reasons for not doing anything,” wrote resident Chuck Blanchard. “It appears to me that if the council and mayor can come up with money for public services such as the fire hall and library and find money for a new main street, they can come up with a way to solve a problem of the CPR crossings. The costs would be substantially less than any of the other projects.”

While there have been some whistle complaints, Dietz said since the conversation started again in Innisfail several residents have come forward in favour of the whistles saying it’s a necessary safety measure.

Transport Canada has a process in place to handle such requests including risk assessments and studies on the crossings.

CPR spokesperson Kevin Hrysak said the crossings in Innisfail meet all safety regulations sent forth by Transport Canada. Should town council apply to Transport Canada for whistle cessation, CPR would work with the town on an application.

“The whistles are the number one safety appliance of a railway,” said Hrysak. “Regardless of whether crossings are equipped with bells, gates, whistles or lights.”

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