LETTERS: Time for trains to move on

Letter writers suggest the only true rail safety solution for the Semiahmoo Peninsula is to move the train tracks from the shoreline.

Editor:

At the risk of triggering another knee-jerk reaction from every old goat who adores diesel fumes, train whistles and coal dust, dare I say, one more time, let’s get rid of that damn railway running through the heart of our city that separates humans from our beautiful seashore!

Now, in addition to the pollution, noise and life-threatening cargoes at our doorsteps, we must endure chain-link fences? This has gone on too long. Move the damn railroad!

I’d make a conservative estimate that every one of the 500 or so properties along the rail line would double in value as a result. Thousands of others would also increase in value significantly. Vast stretches of railway land could be converted to a world-class seawall. Adjacent lands could be sold or leased to private enterprises.

Annual increases in property taxes to White Rock and South Surrey alone could easily pay for the $400 million to move the railway.

Paul Griffin, Surrey

• • •

It’s sad to see how Transport Canada and BNSF are framing the whole safety issue along the White Rock promenade and crossings as a pedestrian-safety issue. In reality it is the trains themselves – over a dozen a day – that are the real safety issue.

A hundred-plus years ago, when these tracks were laid, White Rock was barely populated and the freight carried by the trains were nowhere near as potentially hazardous and toxic as they are today.

We all know from what has happened in Lac-Mégantic, Que. and other populated areas in North America that BNSF is playing a game of probabilities when it comes down to the actual potential catastrophic threat to the physical well being of White Rock residents, the promenade, pier and beach itself.

Everyone knows that no railroad company would ever receive permission in modern times to build a railroad line in such close proximity to such a populated area.

As times have changed, the population density has magnified beyond what anyone could have imagined, as has the frequency and potentially hazardous nature of the railroad cargo being carried.

For all of these reasons, the location of the BSNF tracks should be rerouted through a less potentially dangerous and hazardous location.

Michael Weiner, White Rock.

• • •

This is the final straw. This railway does not seem to understand that nobody wants it – South Surrey, White Rock, Semiahmoo, Blaine, etc.

All costal communities want it gone before we have an ocean disaster. A derailment or spill in the White Rock bluffs would be carried by the tide to the U.S. and Canadian Gulf Islands before anything could be done.

Move the railway. Burlington Northern has another right-of-way crossing the border at Sumas. It is away from the shoreline.

John Williams, White Rock

 

 

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