Train whistle a concern for new developments

·2 min read

The CP railway that runs all the way from Alliston, through Beeton, and right through the middle of Tottenham won’t be going anywhere.

A rail line has existed there for around 150 years, so it’s obviously a success, however the controversy over long train whistles is still ongoing.

Complaints from residents in the Deer Springs subdivision in Tottenham about overly long train whistles near the 3rd Line crossing said the trains blow their whistles too long, especially during early morning hours between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

A local resident appeared before Town Council on December 14 to inquire about a request for a whistle cessation zone near the crossing.

New Tecumseth Fire Chief Dan Heydon, who has been investigating the situation said, “They (the trains) are required, under Canadian Rail Operating Rule number 14, to whistle at all public grade crossings and they must begin sounding at least a quarter-mile upon approach to the crossing,” with no distinction made between daytime and nighttime operations when it comes to signaling an approach to a rail crossing.

The issue was again brought up at the January 11 Council meeting when Ward 4 Councillor Fran Sainsbury brought up future planned developments that will be located very close to the existing railway.

Councillor Sainsbury inquired if the “insurance and liability policies” of other towns like Markham and Milton, who have whistle cessation zones in urban centres, could be obtained.

She referred particularly to future development plans in Beeton suggesting that they may “change how close we put these houses [to the railroad] and make them more soundproof.”

A request was made for a report from other centres who have whistle cessation areas to find out about liability issues and costs with having crossings where the trains do not sound upon ap-proach, as well as to find out if there had been incidents related to having a train approach a crossing without sounding its whistle.

Chief Heydon replied he has submited questions to CP Rail regarding the duration of the train whistle and how long the whistle should be sounded when approaching a crossing.

whistle concerns are considered an “open item” meaning residents from Tottenham may still address this issue in the future

Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times