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Back on Track

It’s been a long and much-needed time away from this blog.

After a fabulous trip across northern Europe two years ago, including a jaunt across Iceland that stole my heart, I arrived home here in Canada to have my heart stolen in a different way…the agonizing death of one of my oldest friends through cancer, followed by the tragic death of a former partner, followed by even further tragedy that I won’t even bother to detail here.

I have always viewed myself as an optimist, so it has taken time to find that aspect of myself again. Without it, I cannot write.

I seriously considered stepping aside altogether, but, with the passing of time, (and judging by an overflowing inbox!) I feel it is once again time to write and discuss the critical issues of railway noise and vibration, the rail industry and the environment, and the relationship between railways and communities.

So, yes, Rail and Reason is back on track…more to follow!


Surrey, B.C. M.P. Announces Railway Noise Town Hall Meeting

We were recently contacted by Jasbir Sandhu, the Member of Parliament for Surrey North, B.C., asking if we could post a notice about an upcoming opportunity for people in his community to come together for a railway noise town hall meeting. B.C.’s Lower Mainland has been one of the country’s hot spots in terms of problems with railway noise and vibration. Also in attendance will be M.P. Peter Julian, who has for years now assisted residents in his own nearby constituency of New Westminster, B.C., another flash point for a serious, longstanding problems with railway noise, vibration, diesel emissions from idling locomotives, and late-night whistling. In Julian’s community, the issue is further compounded by the presence of high-density residential development adjacent the area where four separate railways operate: CN, CP, Southern Railway, and BNSF. We’re happy to help out, and post the following notice on behalf of the Surrey M.P.’s request:

Notice of Surrey, B.C. Town Hall Meeting on Railway Noise

Notice of Surrey, B.C. Town Hall Meeting on Railway Noise

For more information, please contact Jasbir Sandhu, M.P. at: 604-589-2441

In Other News, to the Opposite Coast of Canada:

Going to the opposite coast of the country, to Atlantic Canada, the Nova Scotia residents of Dartmouth have had it with railway whistling affecting their sleep. So, on January 13, Dartmouth City Councillor Gloria McCluskey plans to ask council for a motion to support an investigation into banning late-night whistling in her city’s downtown core. We sincerely wish Councillor McCluskey every success in what we think will be a very uphill battle in helping local residents there simply get a good night’s rest.

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Councillor Gloria McCluskey to help seek a ban on late night whistling

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Councillor Gloria McCluskey to help seek a ban on late night whistling

A copy of Councillor McCluskey's Motion

A copy of Councillor McCluskey’s Motion

Read more…

Trainjane in Belgium: CN and CP Should Visit Too!

Antwerpen Centraal Train Station, Belgium

Antwerpen Centraal Train Station, Belgium

Brussels to Antwerp Train at Antwerpen Centraal, Belgium

Brussels to Antwerp Train at Antwerpen Centraal, Belgium

Antwerpen Centraal

Antwerpen Centraal

Trainjane is currently in Belgium, having landed in Brussels by plane out of Toronto, and then by train to Antwerp.

(Above: Antwerpen Centraal Station)

Although this blog is primarily concerned with how Canada’s railways operate from an environmental and social perspective in the movement of freight, it took a ride between two Belgian cities to show me just how far back in the stone ages rail really is back home in Canada.

I arrived at Brussels airport seeking my rail connection to the north part of the country. I was able to quickly purchase a ticket for the train at a kiosk in the airport. I was then told to walk down two flights of steps to the train station, right there.

Once downstairs, the first thing that astounded me was how QUIET the trains are here. When they’re not needed, they’re NOT left running, the engines are turned OFF. I stood directly next to one set of engines as the engineer went inside to fire them up.

Read more…

Federal Government Launches Review of Canada Transportation Act

A Critical Opportunity For Citizens to Voice Their Opinions About Current Railway Noise and Vibration Regulations

It’s been 7 years since the Federal Government in Ottawa finally passed much-needed regulations addressing railway noise and vibration into law.

This was done by amending The Canada Transportation Act, reinstating provisions to hold the railways to account after CN Rail successfully fought back against a ruling made by the Canadian Transportation Agency in 2000 in favour of residents’ noise and vibration complaints about CN’s operations at a rail yard around Oakville, Ontario. CN succeeded in overturning both the ruling and noise and vibration regulations on the basis of technicalities. Read more…

Bomb Trains – The Crude Gamble Of Oil By Rail

Bomb Trains, The Crude Gamble Of Oil By Rail, by Vice News, is a 23 minute journey into the troubling safety problems surrounding the boom in rail oil shipments. It’s a dire warning for communities facing massive amounts of flammable product being transported in their midst, without prior and open public consultation, and without sufficient infrastructure in place in the event of yet another catastrophic oil train accident.

Set primarily in the Seattle, Washington area and the U.S. Pacific Northwest, the message and the problems associated with shipping oil by rail are virtually the same on both sides of the border.

This short film addresses the issues surrounding the use of defective DOT-111 oil tankers, problems with their repair or replacement, as well as the veil of secrecy under which the growth of rail oil shipments have taken place, with communities being the last to know what’s going on right under their own noses.

It’s a must-watch for anyone concerned about the growth of crude oil shipments by rail, and well worth the time to do so.



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