CSL’s CP yard part of nation-wide whistle security testing

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CSL’s CP yard part of nation-wide whistle security testing

By Joel Goldenberg

Recent noise emanating from the Canadian Pacific Yards in Côte St. Luc has become a source of concern for that city’s residents, and across the country as well.

But media reports indicate that the ongoing noise is the result of nation-wide testing in cities which have CP railyards. According to a report from CTV Calgary, residents in that city were being driven “around the bend” by the ongoing noise. The same report says that the testing is “part of a new requirement by the Federal Railroad Administration” and is being conducted “to see if the noise level of the horns is in compliance.” The CTV report also points out that the testing could continue until the end of this month.

In last week’s Suburban, Côte St. Luc resident Rachel Irwin wrote that she and her neighbours have been disturbed by train whistles “blowing for long periods of time, sometimes off and on for hours at a time… A large portion of Côte St. Luc is being disturbed.”

The issue was also brought up by council regular Bernard Tonchin at the June Côte St. Luc council meeting. He told Mayor Anthony Housefather that studies have shown that people living on airplane flight paths experience stress from the resulting noise. The resident said he is aware that whistle tests are being done in yards across the country.

“Railways are creating stress, as far as we’re concerned, in Côte St. Luc,” Tonchin said. “Three weeks is more than enough, and I was told this would go on further. According to federal law, the whistles on the engine must be tested. It’s a horrible, horrible noise.”

The resident added that trains are going back and forth on Wavell, as a result of boxcar storage no longer taking place on the harbour. “I realize the railway was here long before Côte St. Luc… everything is done to be an annoyance. What can we do about this?”

Housefather acknowledged that the testing is annoying.

“There’s nothing that Côte St. Luc can do in terms of the national testing of these whistles,” the mayor said. “With respect to noise, wherever the city is able to interface with the railway — we believe the noise has increased to an extant that has become unreasonable — we work with the residents and [city clerk] Jonathan Shecter has been working with residents on Wallenberg for months now to try and go through a very difficult procedure where the Canadian Railways Association, us and the railway try to set up mediation or arbitration. It’s a difficult process and, as you say, the railway was there first, and there’s very few limitations on what a railway can do.”

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