A Burlington Northern Santa Fe train passes through White Rock's waterfront.

Train blasts to persist 24/7 when there’s danger: BNSF

BNSF responds to White Rock mayor’s ‘laid down the law’ comment regarding whistle cessation.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe is defending the practices of rail crews travelling along White Rock’s waterfront, after the mayor said last week that Transport Canada had “laid down the law” on overnight whistling.

Spokesperson Gus Melonas told Peace Arch News Wednesday that BNSF had a “cordial, productive” discussion with Transport Canada Sept. 24 regarding the train-whistle parameters and that crews are being reminded of the protocol to “ensure compliance.”

Melonas pointed out, however, that safety along the railway is the company’s number-one concern, and that engineers are required to sound the horn in the event of trespassers on or near the tracks.

“If there is a dangerous situation, then we will sound the horn 24/7,” Melonas said. “There are often situations when there are people or animals on the railway, and regardless of the time, our crews have to sound the warning to protect everyone’s safety.”

Transport Canada provided a similar statement to PAN earlier this week, after Mayor Wayne Baldwin announced at council Sept. 28 that the regulating body had threatened to fine BNSF if they don’t follow the overnight whistling-cessation protocol.

Melonas said the railway is “taking steps to abide by the requirements.”

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