Train whistle relief in sight for Lacombe residents

Proposed crossing upgrades could eliminate most train whistles

Lacombe residents may soon be spared the shriek of warning whistles from most of the trains passing by.

A report has been prepared for city council outlining what needs to be done to the five crossings on two rail lines in the city to bring them up to 2021 safety standards.

The report also assessed what it would cost to further improve the crossings so that trains could safely stop blowing their whistles.

City staff recommended that council approve all of the necessary safety changes to allow trains to stop whistling at Wolf Creek Drive, 50th Avenue and 46th Avenue on the main north-south line that runs next to Highway 2A.

Known as the Leduc line, about a dozen trains a day travel back and forth on it.

“Eliminating whistles on the Leduc line alone would reduce the whistling within city limits by 85 per cent,” says the report, which will be considered by council Monday.

It would cost about $72,500 to improve the three crossings on the Leduc line. About $60,000 of that is to fix the awkwardly configured crossing at 50th Avenue, which has left unwary motorists stopped across the railway tracks while waiting for the nearby traffic lights to change.

That work would be cost shared between the city and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. and possibly offset partly by a Transport Canada grant.

Making improvements to allow for whistle cessation would cost another $5,000 at 50th Avenue and $7,000 for the other two crossings.

Three other crossings in Lacombe County just outside the city are also covered in the report. It is recommended that the city approach the county to see if it will apply for whistle cessation on intersections at 34th Street and Range Road 270 on a second less well-used line that runs east-west next to Highway 12.

Only about three trains, on average, use the so-called Bretcher line daily.

Trains would still need to blow their whistles at Wolf Creek Drive and Range Road 270A on that line. Upgrading those intersections would be pricey — $500,000 for lights, bells and crossing arms at Wolf Creek Drive alone.

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