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Red Deer County council to consider request to silence train whistles

Some residents near crossing at C&E Trail fed up with frequency of train whistles

Red Deer County council will consider how to tackle resident requests to silence train whistles at a crossing near dozens of homes.

A resident living near a rail crossing at the north end of C&E Trail near at the Blindman River has asked the county if anything can be done to silence the train warning whistle blasts that have become much more frequent in recent years.

A couple of decades ago only three or four day trains a day passed through the crossing, with the engineer made the requisite whistle four blasts. Now, two dozen trains at all hours of the day and night are rumbling through the crossing, which is near four county subdivisions.

Coun. Christine Moore proposed a successful notice of motion in October directing administration to come back with a report on options.

That report will come before council on Tuesday with a recommendation that the county develop a whistle cessation policy rather than handle requests piecemeal.

The report outlines the considerable number of steps that would have to be taken before CPKC (formerly CP Rail) would agree to stop train whistles at the crossing, which has lights and crossing arms.

A safety review would be required that could cost $12,000 to $15,000. Other engineering and background work could add up to $35,000 to the bill, which might be partly offset by grant funding.

Before the county pursues whistle cessation it may need to undertake public consultation to ensure there is consensus among residents. The county may also want to consider what to do with three other rail crossings, two of which belong to CN Rail, within a kilometre of the crossing that prompted the complaint. None of those crossings have arms or lights.