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Trains not required to tone it down after dark

December 18, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Residents in the south end of Tottenham will probably not be getting relief any time soon from what some say are overly loud and long trains whistles near the 3rd Line rail crossing just east of Tottenham Road.

Deer Springs subdivision resident Kevin Misner submitted a petition to Town Council in September with 200 signatures requesting that the stretch of rail line be made a “quiet zone,” noting other growing municipalities have done so.

Tottenham has five rail crossing. The train crosses Tottenham Rd, north of Highway 9, the 2nd Line, 3rd Line, Mill Street, and the 5th Line.

Only the Tottenham Road and 3rd Line crossings have mechanical arms. The other crossings have only flashing lights to warn drivers and pedestrians of an approaching train.

Three of the crossing go through residential areas with houses backing on to the rail line.

Because of the relatively close proximity of the crossing in town – just over 1 km apart – the trains routinely start blowing their horns when approaching town and continue all the way through as they approach the next crossing.

Mr. Misner appeared before Council during the December 14, council meeting to inquire about any Council decision requesting whistle cessation at the 3rd Line crossing saying “the frequency of the whistle keeping people up is affecting the quality of life of the residents,” with emphasis on the hours between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

Ward 8 Councillor Alan Lacey suggested the Town contact the railroad to ensure the trains are “following the rules about train whistles” with regards to duration of the whistles in Town.

He referenced the “continuity, frequency, and duration” of the whistles.

New Tecumseth Fire Chief Dan Heydon has been doing the investigation into the situation.

He reported that CP Rail trains run through the town an average of 12 times per day.

“They are required, under Canadian Rail Operating Rule number 14, to whistle at all public grade crossings and they must begin sounding at least a quarter-mile upon approach to the crossing.”

There is no distinction made between day time and night time operations when it comes to signaling an approach to a railway crossing.

Part of the difficulty of creating a “quiet zone” on a rail line is the shift of liability to the Town if an accident occurs.

For now, at least, the trains will continue with regular whistles at all crossings in Tottenham.

By Brian Lockhart
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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