Surrey released conceptual renderings of a railway overpass in Crescent Beach. (City of Surrey rendering)

LETTERS: Dangerous goods transported by rail continue pose a threat

Overpass for Crescent Beach good news, but doesn’t address serious safety concern


Re: Concepts for Crescent Beach overpass released, Nov. 11

I read with interest the story by Aaron Hinks on the proposed rail overpass into Crescent Beach and the City of Surrey’s effort to “address a key safety issue.”

I agree that possible delays in emergency response have been and could be critical. I think, however, of far greater concern to the 390 properties of Crescent Beach, is the constant flow, in large quantities, (at least one train per day) of dangerous goods, including: petroleum products, CNG, chlorine, Sulphuric Acid, and many others, and the five-plus daily coal trains.

As evidenced in other locations any derailment or failure of even one car on these trains could spell disaster for Crescent Beach as well as the Semiahmoo First Nation, City of White Rock and those living above or near the BNSF line along our coast.

Any failure or spill that enters the environment will have devastating impact. I am not an engineer or cost estimator but suspect the cost of the proposed overpass to be in the multi-million dollar range.

The mayor has said, ‘Without any other way for emergency vehicles to get in or out of Crescent Beach during an unscheduled train stoppage is a safety issue that has gone on far too long.”

I suggest: Stop the trains; use monies to offset any additional costs incurred by BNSF using existing tracks to the east; protect the people and the ecosystems in our coastal region, and perhaps the world.

R. Brian McMurdo, White Rock fire chief, retired

City of SurreyLetter to the Editor