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OPINION – CN Rail Responds to Complaints About the Return of Train Whistles Within Chilliwack – They Won’t Go Away Anytime Soon

Chilliwck (with files from CN Rail/City of Chilliwack) – On June 10, FVN reported a statement from the City of Chilliwack with regards to the return of train whistles.

Whistle cessation has been in place at the City’s road crossings between Prest Road to Evans Road since 1984.

However in recent years the number of deaths and serious injury have climbed dramatically. The cases range from not paying attention to homeless living near the track to, and the elephant in the room, suicide.

From the City:

CN Rail has informed the City of Chilliwack that, by order from Transport Canada, effective immediately, they have re-instituted train whistling throughout our region in response to a recent fatality on the tracks.

The City of Chilliwack has invested in significant upgrades to local rail crossings to reduce the need for train whistles in our community, and runs regular rail safety educational campaigns. Whistle cessation has been in place at the City’s road crossings between Prest Road to Evans Road since 1984. The City is encouraging CN Rail to increase their investment in more secure, protective fencing to make it more difficult for people to access tracks at known trespass locations.

Ashley Michnowski is with CN Media Relations and has seen and heard the social media outcry from residents who live along the line, and who are upset with the whistles and in particular, overnight.

In a statement provided to FVN:

“Safety is a core value at CN. Following a recent incident where someone was tragically struck by a train in Chilliwack, Transport Canada issued a slow order for trains which also includes whistling along a 5-mile corridor. The anti-whistling at the crossings, negotiated years ago, will continue as this has not been affected. CN is reviewing opportunities to improve safety along its right of way by adding signage, repairing fencing that continuously gets cut, fortifying fencing, enhancing public awareness efforts with the community on rail safety and enforcement.

CN apologizes for any inconvenience this is causing for residents and is in communication with the city of Chilliwack to come to a solution that improves rail safety in the communities we travel through while also continuing to provide reliable service to our customers. Please report any safety concerns to the CN Emergency line at 1-800-465-9239.”

STAY OFF TRACKS AND RAILWAY PROPERTY

Stay Off Tracks

Never walk, cycle or drive along railway tracks. It’s hard to judge how far away a train is or what speed it’s travelling at. Trains can go as fast as 160 km/h and can take up to 2 kilometres to come to a complete stop. That’s the length of 18 football fields.

Keep Off of Railway Property

Railway yards, tunnels and bridges are all private property. If you are caught trespassing on them, you could be fined up to $50,000. But it isn’t just illegal to trespass on railway property—it’s extremely dangerous. Railway tunnels and bridges are often only slightly wider than the rails, leaving little or no room for you if a train does come along.

Use Designated Railway Crossings

Always cross railway tracks at designated crossings. Trying to cross tracks anywhere else could be deadly. Remember, trains can come at any time, from either direction, and on any track. They also don’t always run on a set schedule.

Keep Your Distance

Trains can overhang the tracks by as much as 1 metre on each side. They can also carry loads that are wider than the railway cars themselves. So, stay clear. You could also get hit by chains, straps or other equipment swinging loose from the train if you are too close.

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