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North Shore MP camps out, listens to railway noise
On Sunday morning at 2 o’clock, grinding breaks, loud blasts and squealing wheels from CN trains can be heard from a park in Norgate.
It’s a problem some homeowners have been complaining about for more than a decade and MP John Weston, whose territory covers the Norgate community, is there to experience it himself.
Camping out overnight with a handful of residents, he wants to hear the noise from railway tracks that are a five minute walk away.
“I’ve heard about this since before I got elected and I want to come see it for myself,” he explained, a loud blast or “whistle” in the background.
“I’ve raised it with CN in meetings and I’ve met with the [transportation minister] about it.”
While camping out that night, Mike Haveruk, a retired paver who has lived on Beechwood Crescent for 35 years, told The Outlook that the noise has been going on for 13 years, around the time CN took over BC Rail.
“Everyone has to earn a living but we can’t put up with this 24/7, seven days a week,” he said, adding the whistling and blasts keep him up at night even though he has installed triple-glazed windows. “I haven’t had a good sleep in 13 years.”
However, Lindsay Fedchyshyn, spokeswoman for CN, said crews are required by federal legislation to whistle in order to accommodate Transport Canada’s requirements.
“Our crews follow a detailed set of instructions in the Canadian Rail Operating Rules that outline when a whistle must be sounded and the whistling sequence to be used. The Canadian Rail Operating Rules fall under Canada’s Railway Safety Act,” she said.
But this isn’t good enough for Haveruk, who says the loud sounds wake him and other neighbours up every night.
“Shut down between 11 [p.m.] and 7 [a.m.], that’s the only way to stop it,” he said, adding some residents have even moved out of the neighbourhood due to the railway noise.
Weston and the residents brought decibel reading devices and tape recorded the whistles, which Haveruk says were much less frequent that night than most other nights. While a few blasts were heard this time, he said there are usually dozens more.
“Everyone acknowledges that CN has to do its business,” said Weston. “But we need to reach a compromise on these [noise reduction] requests.”