Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff Lacombe resident Stewart Shields, in front the Wolf Creek Drive crossing on the northeast side of town, said train whistles have been a problem for residents in the east end of the city for years.

Lacombe council to look into silencing train whistles

Lacombe council will look into stopping noisy trains from blowing their whistles when riding through the city.

One Lacombe resident says he’s had enough of the loud train whistles.

Stewart Shields, 80, has lived in Lacombe for 15 years. His home is just blocks away from the Wolf Creek Drive train crossing on the northeast side of town and he said he’s been concerned about the whistles for years.

“Trains can come through any time – all night, all day,” he said. “It’s noise pollution and noise pollution leads to public health issues.”

Shields said the whistles can interrupt sleep and cause stress.

“There are (people) that like the whistle, and I respect that. But I don’t appreciate the fact that people would be so rigid in their thoughts that they’d let others suffer medically,” said Shields.

Shields said trains come through Lacombe at 55 miles per hour – he would like them going slower than 44 miles per hour.

“If it’s less than 44, they don’t have to start blowing the whistle from a quarter-mile away. The faster they go the further back they have to blow,” he said.

Lacombe council has discussed the issue in the past – Shields has asked for council’s support to get Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to stop whistling ahead of the city’s three crossings in 2016 and there was a 20-name petition brought to council in 2015.

City administration was directed to gather information on train cessation at council’s last meeting so it can make a more informed decision about the issue.

Mayor Grant Creasey said council may add train whistle cessation into the city’s updated strategic plan, which will be considered for adoption at the end of May.

“There are a lot of factors to consider before we bring this forward; what the financial impacts are, what the procedures are, how long it will take – all those kinds of things,” said Creasey.

Creasey said there are some residents concerned about train whistles.

“I think it would be an exaggeration for me to suggest it is very widespread, but I’ve certainly heard from several people who find it to be an issue,” he said.

Transport Canada has an eight-step procedure for whistle cessation.

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