West Coast Express crept into Port Haney station on Tuesday without a horn sounding at crossing. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Train horns falling silent in Maple Ridge

30-day transition period underway

The sound of freight train horns blasting throughout Maple Ridge is fading into history.

After the City of Maple Ridge followed an eight-step process involving crossing safety upgrades, CP Rail has now told its train crews not to sound horns, or whistles, as trains roll through the city.

Acting economic development director Darrell Denton said Monday that CP Rail has installed all its signs advising crews not to sound horns and that it has issued a bulletin telling them of the change.

Crews have a 30-day grace period in which to adjust to the new rule, but Denton said trains have already stopped sounding their horns.

“Based on the resident feedback that I have received over the past few days, this is indeed the case,” Denton said Monday.

“That said, and based on Transport Canada’s formal process, the official end to the 30 days’ notice period should be July 18,” he added.

Tuesday morning, two trains rolled through Port Haney crossing, one briefly sounding a horn as it approached, while the last West Coast Express train came in without doing so.

Denton said that it may take a while for CP Rail crews to adjust, but added that the railway will be monitoring for whistle cessation compliance.

He said, though, that horns will still be sounded if people or animals are seen on the tracks because that is the only means for crews to communicate their presence.

In addition, whistles will also continue to be sounded at crossings in the Glen Valley and Fort Langley on the CN tracks on the south side of the Fraser River, Denton added.

Maple Ridge council voted last September to stop train whistles after signing on to the Transport Canada cessation program.

One of the requirements was the installation of 1.8-metre-high security fences, at both Port Haney and Maple Meadows Way stations, to keep people from crossing the tracks in the area.

Residents near the West Coast Express train station also started a petition last year, calling for the horns to stop.

One of the organizers has since moved to Langley to escape the noise.


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