A letter writer suggests there’s a vast difference between train horns in East Beach (above, as fence was installed in 2015) and West Beach. (File photo)

LETTERS: High time to curtail train blasts

Editor: I am a 16-year resident trying to enjoy an afternoon on my ocean-view deck above West Beach.


I am a 16-year resident of White Rock trying to enjoy an afternoon on my ocean-view deck above West Beach.

A train heading west is blasting its horn 16 times between the pier and the boat launch at Bay Street. This occurs at least 12 times a day. I know the decimal level is higher than acceptable standards. I have had guests here from other parts of Canada, the U.S. and Europe who can’t believe that we have to tolerate this noise.

All of our neighbours agree it has become too much noise since the woman, while running across the tracks at East Beach with earbuds in, was killed, and since two more crossings were installed at West Beach.

East Beach gets four blasts total for their four crossings, versus West Beach’s 16 blasts for their four crossings. The train at West Beach can barely finish four blasts for one crossing, then has to begin another four for the next, the next and the next! This is total overkill with the crossings so close together, as well as there being ‘protective’ fencing, zigzagged crossings and warning signs.

I have listened to all the rhetoric from city council members, the mayor, MLAs, MPs and Transport Canada, regarding costs, safety issues, moving the tracks and putting up flashing lights, arms and bells etc. This project was suppose to be completed by this past fall of 2017.

It seems other money-grabbing White Rock projects are moving ahead but not the train-noise/crossing issue.

During the summer, at the evening music events, the train blasts 16 times, up to eight per minute. But after that, the train goes by nicely only dinging its bell with 2,000-3,000 people hovering near the pier and promenade. Surely, the train just dinging its bell should be enough during the day.

But here is where it really becomes ridiculous. At six the next morning, when hardly a soul is near the tracks, the train blasts 16 times. How ridiculous is that?

I am of the opinion this horn blasting is instigated by bureaucrats in the Vancouver office of Transport Canada, whom I have been told visited White Rock on a few occasions and thought they witnessed safety issues.

There is no logical reason we need 16 blasts between the pier and the boat launch, particularly when two of the four crossings are only approximately 120 meters apart.

Perhaps, from Oct. 1 to May 30, the two crossings between the pier and boat launch – which would be seldom used in the winter – should be closed to give us relief from some of the noise pollution.

We recently were in Montreal, near the waterfront where cruise ships dock. There is an amusement park, boat moorage and rentals all across the freight railway tracks from the old town. The trains did not blast there at any of the pedestrian or car crossings that were only equipped with a painted stop sign and a rail-crossing sign – no bells, no flashing lights and no automated arms.

Similar situation at Ambleside in West Vancouver.

I believe the only way to curtail this intrusion is for the minister of transportation to instruct the Vancouver office of Transport Canada to eliminate some of this noise pollution and give us back our peaceful life.

Ron Collingwood, White Rock

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