THE NEWS/files                                Both freight trains and the West Coast Express would be silenced by new whistle cessation measures.

THE NEWS/files Both freight trains and the West Coast Express would be silenced by new whistle cessation measures.

Maple Ridge moves to silence train ‘blasting’

City hall begins Transport Canada’s whistle cessation process

Maple Ridge is going to be working to silence train whistles as engines travel through the city.

A report presented to council on May 23 noted that staff has been working on the disruptive “whistles and blasts” in recent years, and Transport Canada has a new process for cities wanting to silence routine whistles at public railway crossings.

An engineering study identified only minor improvements necessary improve safety at the city’s rail crossings, at a cost of approximately $30,000.

All have lights, bells and control arms in place.

Council approved staff taking whistle cessation steps required by Transport Canada for eight public railway crossings in Maple Ridge, excluding the crossing at Bell Pole Spur on River Road in Albion.

Their efforts should quiet both freight and passenger trains, including the West Coast Express.

Marilyn Cowie, who lives near Port Haney Station, recently collected signatures for a petition asking that the whistles be stopped.

In April, she said the “blasting” is generally about 12 times per day, but with increased rail traffic there are some nights when it is almost hourly.

Coun. Gordy Robson said train noise has been a long-time issue for people living close to the tracks.

“We’ve been trying to get that dealt with for 20 years,” he said. “We’re going through the process, and it will take eight or nine months. Maybe we’ll get it in time for Christmas.”

Train operators may still use their whistles when people or animals are observed on or near the tracks.