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Residents of Spences Bridge Fuming Over CN’s Idling of Locomotives

by on November 26, 2012

Spences Bridge, B.C. is a self-described Train Town as portrayed in a recent documentary by the same name. Dwayne Rourke’s film clearly illustrates the variety of dilemmas currently being faced by local residents as a result of current rail practices.

Rourke has also posted a separate video on YouTube, which questions CN Rail’s recent decision to leave an idling engine for a prolonged period within the heart of the village.

Rourke provides his thoughts along with his video:

“CN Rail seems to think that leaving their engines idling within the village limits of Spences Bridge is just fine, contrary to the feelings of many villagers who want such practices stopped.

Video footage now online documents a typical idling situation wherein a locomotive, which could seemingly be easily parked further up the line for such an extended duration as this, is left idling for hours and hours right in the heart of the village.

Excessive vibration and diminished air quality are the result, both of which reduce the quality of life of the local citizens who are calling for CN to ameliorate the situation.

Complaints about such adverse corporate behavior have been forwarded to CN by email:

Rourke also publishes an informative website, The Rattler.

  1. Tammy permalink

    We have at least 8 these relics in Golden that never shut down But they will argue that their engines have smart start but not these. Just watch them put into action you will really be disgusted.We took CP to mediation and discovered that their are no law protecting the citizens.The government is on their side. Yesterday I watched them bury their creosoted rail tys into the Colombia wetlands at the site of last years wreck. The feds don”t care ever …

    • trainjane permalink

      Hi Tammy,

      It’s unbelievable the amount of complaints that we are getting about idling locomotives. The problem seems to be getting worse instead of better.

      One emerging issue associated with this is the reduction in effectiveness of the Smart Start system in curbing idling. This is turning into a serious problem.

      On the positive side, the Federal Government is drafting legislation to address locomotive emissions.

      It is expected that this will happen in early 2013, and not moment too soon given the amount of pollution this industry’s rail yards are subjecting residents and the environment to.

      It’s our understanding that there will be some aspects of the new law to govern the actual idling of locomotives, and there will be an opportunity for the public to provide input on the draft of these regulations once they’re published.

      We suggest that you, and other people in your situation, make your concerns known at that time.

      It’s time to speak up about how far behind this industry is in curbing their emissions inside rail yards and the apparent scarcity of newer, less polluting locomotives in them. Why aren’t railways investing in more efficient locomotives for rail yards, instead of just passing off yesterday’s hand-me-downs from other parts of its operations and “making do” with so many clunkers and junkers?

    • We have been investigating noise and vibration issues in the UK.

      Key findings:

      Do NOT assume that anything that you are told is correct, particularly with regard to regulations, standards and law. We have found, even in government published documents, complete distortion of World Health Organization guidelines to the advantage of developers. We have found consultants that belong to international, eco-award-winning corporations, presenting evidence to government bodies and in public reports that is totally misleading, that they knew to be wrong, that promotes lower environmental standards, saves their company money, and gets approval. The eco-award-winning corporation didn’t want to know.
      Government may have been hood-winked by or be deliberately taking a light-touch approach to unsustainable behaviour by certain organizations. Unless the government is forced by law or process, or embarrassed into it, they are unlikely to act.

      Always check source documents
      Try to get advice from totally independent advisers (eco-award winning does not mean independent, academic experts may be best)
      Try to get facts, facts are difficult to refute. Everyone has opinions.
      Check and know the laws and regulations. A huge amount of regulation, standards and procedure both in government, companies, professional and regulatory bodies is simply ignored.
      Be willing to work up organizations from reluctant lower-level individuals through superiors and complaints systems to CEO and the board of directors.
      Keep records of everything and use these as evidence.
      Be very public about the failings of senior personnel who ignore standards, human rights, responsibilities.
      Communicate with supportive politicians. Ask them to raise issues, ask Qs in Parliament.
      Give clear, substantiated information to politicians with roles in health, environment, human rights etc and then ask them to act.
      Ask each body/person who states/claims that they are powerless to resolve a problem to refer the issue to the body above them and for you to be copied in to all communications.
      Get a good law firm.
      Expect a huge amount of resistance. Polluting is cheap, easy, requires little or no thought and is often seen as a right by the polluter. This can be changed but not without effort.
      [Just a few thoughts . . . Good luck]

      • trainjane permalink

        Thank you for commenting from the U.K.

        Your closing words sum up our opinion of current rail practices here in Canada exactly as well:

        “Expect a huge amount of resistance. Polluting is cheap, easy, requires little or no thought and is often seen as a right by the polluter. This can be changed but not without effort.”

        Please keep us informed of any developments in the U.K.

  2. Hi folks. A little update on this vid.

    I filmed it, edited it, posted it to YouTube and sent notification by email to CN Rail — all within an hour of the encounter. Thankfully, and contrary to what the engineer proclaims in the video, the train did not idle there all day long and was gone within 2 hours of the encounter!

    • trainjane permalink

      Hi Dwayne,
      Thank you for the update and a thank you to CN Rail for getting this train moved.

      Three questions:

      How long did this engine idle in total before it was moved?

      Was it moved further out of town and stopped further away where it was less disruptive to residents?

      Have you considered going back to Youtube and updating the information there?

      Our suggestion is to note the total hours of idling at that location, but that it was moved sooner than originally anticipated.

      We think that this will help demonstrate the emerging role of social media in resolving problems such as this, but regardless of whatever reason this train was moved sooner than expected, we also suggest that a thank you go to the engineer and to CN for helping resolve this one.

      And lastly, a thank you to you Dwayne, in advising of of this update so we can keep details up-to-date and factual.

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