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Railway noise and vibration problems are broken into two distinct areas, with the issue of whistling generally separated out from other railway noise problems.

Whistling at crossings is a safety provision, and falls under the jurisdiction of Transport Canada. Trains are required to sound their whistles at pubic crossings unless a whistle cessation agreement is in place.

Other rail noise and vibration problems can include shunting noises from rail yard operations, idling locomotives, and noise from passing trains.  The Canadian Transportation Agency has regulatory jurisdiction over complaints in these areas. 



Train whistles, particularly when used at night, are increasingly being criticized as a serious problem, causing sleep disruption for many people living along rail corridors.

The pattern of two long blasts, one short, followed by another long harkens back to the days of morse code, in which it designated the letter “Q”. It dates back to another era when the Queen of England would come on board ships in the harbour. The ships would blast their horns with the morse code for “Q” to let other ships know the Queen was on board, and to yield right of way.

Trains then adopted this signal pattern, and what once was the announcement of royalty is now simply the herald of sleep disruption and misery for many, and a flash point for where a safety device crosses over into a public health hazard.  The use of 90 decibel train whistles to protect crossings can simply become a late-night auditory assault on the local community. It is further ineffective and outmoded that only a fraction of those hearing the whistle are actually those attempting to use the crossing.  The majority haven’t been warned – they’ve been woken.

Whistle cessation is a must for late-night rail operations, especially in urban areas, with alternate measures being set into place to provide necessary safeguards to provide protection at crossings – for vehicular and rail traffic, and for residents living nearby.  Whistle cessation is possible to achieve, but very complex, and involves the City or Municipality, the rail company, and Transport Canada, coming to an agreement, and meeting certain provisions.

The following relevant publications are available from Transport Canada and will be helpful in addressing whistling complaints:

Elimination of Train Whistling at Public Railway Crossings

Procedure & Conditions For Eliminating Whistling At Public Crossings


Rail Noise and Vibration Complaints (Other than Whistling):

In June 2007, the Canadian federal government formally approved Amendments to the Canada Transportation Act, returning regulatory jurisdiction to The Canadian Transportation Agency, to oversee complaints concerning unreasonable levels of noise and vibration emanating from rail operations.  The Amendments favour that a collaborative approach be taken in the resolution of rail noise and vibration disputes. In the absence of an agreement being reached, with all collaborative measures being tried and exhausted, The Agency can then formally investigate the matter and make a binding ruling.

Information can be found in the following publication from the Canada Transportation Agency: Rail Noise and Vibration Complaints.

Briefly, here are the steps to be taken if you or your community are being negatively impacted by unreasonable levels of rail noise and vibration:

(1) Let your local municipal government about the nature of the problem being experienced. The dispute resolution process encourages their participation. It’s important that local government is made aware, if not already, of the legislative changes that have been made that provide clear opportunity for their involvement. A serious problem in the area’s own “backyard” is no longer completely “out of their hands”.

Contact the railway and let them of your concerns. Be specific as to the nature of the noise and vibration problem being experienced. The involvement of local authorities in this step can be helpful in trying to resolve problems faced by rail operations by its residents, in exploring possible solutions and options.

(2) If resolution of the problem cannot be reached, check to see if the railway in question is under the Agency’s jurisdiction:

Federal Railway Companies

Urban Transit Authorities

(3) If the railway in question appears on this list, the next step is to ask The Canadian Transportation Agency to mediate your rail and noise dispute.  This will involve a mediator from The Agency, representative(s) from the rail company, representatives from the community, including citizens or their representatives, as well municipal officials.  The following publication in the Mediation section of the website details this process: Mediating Your Transportation Dispute.

(4) If resolution still has not been reached, after exhausting all collaborative measures, a formal complaint can then be filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency, requesting an investigation of the complaint.  The Agency will determine if the complaint meets the required criteria, (unreasonable rail noise and vibration) and can adjudicate the matter accordingly.  The following publication details this process: Guidelines for the Resolution of Complaints over Railway Noise and Vibration.

Upon receipt of a completed formal complaint, The Agency has the authority to render a binding Decision on the matter generally within a 120 day period.

© Copyright 2010

  1. Stu MacLeod permalink

    Well some where to write a complaint!!!?Cn has no where to do so with them pushing aside the public!…I have live since 1982 in 193 greenhaven est. rang road 220 in Ardrossan Alberta next to the east west line from edmonton to wrainright ab. We have seen up tp 10x the traffic on the tract since 2000.We experience at least 10-14 trains east and west at all hour of night and day… whistle blows as loud as 130db and most sitting at 120db. at 200feet from property.I can not hold a conversation in my home when a train passes.CN have poisened and clear cut the right of way running along the east west of my property.In doing so they have killed some 75 mature trees and shrubs with this action over the last 4 years.i have no noise or sound berrier.I have plane photo’s to show the distruction! from 2005 until now.My issue is the lack of responce from CN they we will not do anything about this .I asked CN to come to my property to see and hear the damage to my quality of life with a attidude of too bad .Well i guess the start of a campain to let the public know of CN and there greater than thow attitude .Well how about a major UTUBE campain !!!!!!as well as some high end officials being woke up at 4 am to 130db car horns outside their homes for a start.The town of Ardrossan has had enough!!!.how about some pictutes of CN WORKERS sleeping in trucks on the new road put in at the back of my property? I want a no whistle or horn clause and a replacement of the trees lost .This will not be the last of my issue ,as i have a meeting with global news as well as ctv news on CN rail.This CN attitude is the same attitude that enslaved workers to build the railroad and the way it handled the clean up of that in the public was incidious! Even CN made the people of Wabaman, Ab. feel it was there fault for the massive derail and enviromental holocaust issue CN caused.And again the public stood for the rights of Albertains and Canadians and won!CN the Camera’s are on and sound meters are recording and we are comming in the news…..S MACLEOD

    • S Bomak permalink

      Stu – I hear you. I also live in Greenhaven estates and it is unbearable how loud the trains are moving down the tracks. Most of the engineers have NO consideration for the residents along the track. Some engineers do try to be somewhat courteous, but for the most part it is a lost cause. We ALL need to write our MP’s (Leon Benoit for our area) to ensure that this bill gets passed. Please pass on this message to others in our area. SBomak

  2. goldspike permalink

    Hello Mr. Macleod,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It sounds like your quality of life has all been but shattered by CN Rail. You are not alone, not by any means.

    Firstly, have you spoken to your local municipal authorities about the whistling problem?

    Secondly, is the whistling due to grade level crossings, (trains crossing public roadways?)

    We’ve listed a resource for you here to at least start having the whistling problem looked at, with the hope of whistle cessation. It’s a long, complicated process however.

    We believe that the entire idea of the use of excessively loud train whistles in proximity to residential homes is in dire need of a federal review.

    As freight levels increase, it is simply unreasonable to expect residents to continually absorb ever-increasing noise levels that this brings, and we are very concerned about the toll that this type of noise pollution is having on human health.

    Secondly, for the other related noise concerns that you have, you can request mediation of this problem by the Canadian Transportation Agency. You will find links on this blog.

    Stay in touch and let us know how this situation progresses.


  3. Denise Laitinen permalink

    I sat down with the traffic manager and some jerk CN cop and this “cop” informed me that the CN could operate their trains anyway they wanted to, hiball through residential areas, break windows, destroy property, etc and in his words “there is nothing you or anyone else can do about it”

    Clearly he has read the regulations on the Ministry of Transportation website – Since complaining about the noise and vibration the engineers ring their bell, not just their whistle every time they pass our house, day and night.

    My grandsons health is being impacted because he is unable to nap in the afternoon, the trains hiball into the city and the hit the brakes slamming the cars together every 15 mins or so and it sound like an explosition in the back yard, and he wakes up screaming and shaking and scared — the noise actually rattles the windows, the vibration rattles windows and doors, knocks pictures off the wall, breaks the glasses in the cabinets and turns off the computer –

    I hope the CN engineers feel like big men harassing and endangering the health of a 2 year old boy and other children and babies in residential areas SHAME ON YOU !

    We are woke up every 15 mins all night long from the trains hiballing through our area, the bedroom mirror is banging against the wall, the bed is bouncing up and down, the windows and ceiling fan is rattling, things are being bounced off the dresser and bedside tables. The light in the hallway was shook right out of the ceiling one night and had to be completely rewired.

    We have had to replace the lock on the front door FIVE times in 7 months because its being shook to pieces – we have to replace lightbulbs daily — the window in the storm door was knocked out and fell on the floor and broke — the neighbours plumbing in the kitchen was shook so bad it just came apart and started spraying water all over while they were at work

    And because some smart ass is going to say were the tracks there when you bought the house? They were, but they werent double tracked and trains didnt weigh 40 tons or more and the engineers they have now werent working for the CN and the CN wasnt owned by the Americans at that time. It was a Cdn company and had a sense of community and responsiblity and consideratiion – now they have none, just an attitude we are American and we can do whatever we like in Canada and there is nothing you can do

    The CN has been forced to put 100’s of millions into rectifying these problems in the US, paying for sound proofing in homes, redesigning track beds etc so if they can be forced to do that in the US they can damn well comply with regulations in Canada too

  4. Denise Laitinen permalink

    Oh yah the CN refuses to cut the long dry grass along their right of way and has also started several fires in residential area and in fact burned down on house this summer – They arent checking cars and we had one train leave the junction that had a fire in a box car and it went through a residential area like a flame thrower, setting off multiple fires all along the tracks

    The arrogant “CN cop” I sat down with to “discuss” the problems told me they get at least 150 complaints a DAY from Kamloops residents and “oh well too bad” because the CN wont slow down their trains or advise engineers to enter the city at lower speeds.

    He told me they can travel at 140 kph coming into the city and then have to slow down to 50 kph within a relatively short distance and they CHOOSE to not slow down earlier in order to reduce noise because “they dont have to”.

    We are double tracked now and the trains highball in order to clear the single track for another train with NO regard to noise and vibration problems or to public safety –

    I happened to be at a crossing one day when the bells went off and within TWO seconds the train was in the crossing – there is NO time for anyone driving or walking across it to get out of the way of the train. I believe 100% that this is why there are so many people being killed on level crossings within the last couple fo years – they simply dont have the time to get out of the way of the trains highballing towards them

  5. Denise Laitinen permalink A study done in 2006 on the impact of the double tracking in the Kamloops area.

    Since this study was done the CN bought out BC Rail and the traffic has tripled or more. Sometimes there is a train every 5 minutes, one after another, or two at time because of the double tracking. The CN says the legal speed limit on the North shore, west of Singh street is 140 kph Thats as much as 80 tons or more of freight highballing through the area withing 100 feet or less of the houses in the Brocklehurst area.

    This study was contracted by a group of private citizens to support a law suit against the CN and I assume they lost because I never saw anything published in the newspapers or on the media about it – but just because I didnt see it doesnt mean it wasnt there.As e all know Law suits against big business almost never succeed in BC or in Canada for that matter.

    Americans have been successful in suing the CN. The CN had to pay for sound proofing and make necessary changes to the rail beds to prevent further problems. I believe in on city they actually relocated the track because of noise and vibration problems.

    In the last 20 minutes THREE trains have gone by my house, Its 2:14 PM and my grandson should he having his nap but is woke up daily by the explosion of the cars slamming into each other in his back yard, as incoming trains slow down for the Singh street crossing and reduced speed limit.

    At 3:12 AM and 3:23 AM this morning the cars on 2 incoming trains were slamming together in this, a residential area. not once but THREE times for the 3:23 AM train, each incident sounding like an exploison and rattling windows. The speed of these trains and vibration once more made the floors bounce, things bang against the walls, or fall off the wall, opened closet doors, turned up the thermostat etc

    The problem facing the people in this area is to get the City of Kamloops behind us to set regulations for CN operations. The Mayor and Council are not very concerned or interested in the North shore or individual rights in Kamloops.

    Their entire focus seems to be making Kamloops the Tournamet Capital of Canada, granting development permits to “suspect” developers to put in “theme” parks and ‘theme” developments etc Given that they granted a re-zoning in a residental area in Brocklehurst for industrial use (a body shop on Ord Road) is a good example of the city’s attitude towards tax payers on the North Shore.

    I have spoken to the engineering dept at the City and they have said the citizens have to unite and go to the City Council and present their complaints and problems and request that the city do something. Been there, done that and I have no interest in being the “entertainment of the day” and be once more subjected to that farce of a gong show that masquarades as a City Council meeting.

    At this point the resdients of the North shore and Westsyde have to unite, sign a petition, file complaints with the Ministry of Transportation and get the media behind them

    Should there be a class action suit filed on behalf of the residents affected I will be on board for that.

    • trainjane permalink

      We are very sorry to hear about the level of frustration you are having.

      We think the geotechnical test to which you refer is much older than the date you’ve listed.

      In fact, we think it was actually done in 1988.
      You might want to ask the engineering firm about that.

      Here is a link to the actual report:

      What would be interesting is to get a different firm to do a follow-up test, using the old test as a baseline to compare differences in noise and vibration levels.

      With regards to our friends in the U.S., our understanding is that some of the mitigation measures were made part of the deal when CN Rail took over the Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern Railway that previously operated in their community.

      Our understanding is that they are legally challenging the takeover itself, given in part to the negative impact it has subjected numerous Chicago-area communities to.

      As for your situation…that’s part of why this site exists.

      You have the options of requesting formal mediation with CN through The Canadian Transportation Agency. All the links you need are on this site. It would be good to from a community group, with City involvement, to deal with this issue, and request help from the Agency accordingly.

      You have an option other than court through this.

      Links are provided on this site.

      Whistling, however, is a separate issue.

      As it is a safety issue, whistle cessation requires the involvement of the City of Kamloops, CN, and Transport Canada. Your first step would be to taken your citizen’s group request to City Hall and try to get the process started.

      We look forward to hearing back from you

  6. Denise Laitinen permalink

    I have talked to a number of people in this area about this problem with the CN and all are willing to sign a petition or a formal complaint. I know if I made a genuine effort I could get almost everyone in the area to join the effort to stop the CN from harassing residents and damaging our homes.

    However I am partially disabled due to a work accident and have some physical limitations and not a whole lot of energy to get out there and knock on doors – but this is what it is going to take.

    Given the gong show format of the City Council meetings I am hoping to find someone who is willing to speak before council about a petition to the city about setting regulations and bylaws regarding the operation within city limits of both CP and CN.

    I havent heard any negative about the CP for decades, other than their wheels and brakes squeal —

    Their junction is located in the downtown area and any noise is extremely minimal. I peronally have never heard them slamming cars together while building trains, or entering the junction while shopping in the downtown area, nor did I hear any noise when I worked in the downtown area.

    This suggests the CP engineers are much more professional and skilled then the cowboys the CN seems to prefer to have operating their trains. Comparing the accident records of the two companies, again the CN comes out by far the worst of the 2. All of this appears to be a management problem with CN so I would say the hurdles to overcome start at the top –

    The whistling I believe specifies 1/4 mile from a level crossing, it is 2 longs, 1 short and a long which is the signal to clear the track –

    4 short blasts while passing through the area from which complains have been filed with the Ministry of Transportation isnt anywhere in the Ministry of Tranpsporation rule book, nor is ringing the bell at night while travelling through these areas a safety rule .

    I posted an email received from BKL and I believe this study was contracted by individual residents. The city claims to have no record of a study ever being done –

    There is a strata meeting for our complex coming up soon and a number of us are going to put forward the idea of the CN paying for sound proofing of the complex as they have done in the US in response to complaints from residents regarding their expanding their operations in that country too

    Ha ha, not a hope in hell right? But its a start — If we can get enough people going on this it could be effective and the city may feel they have no choice but to put regulations in place for rail operations.

    If the airport has regulations and laws on the operation of aircraft over the city why shouldnt rail companies ?

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Denise,

      A petition would be a good step, to be given to your city officials and to the railways. Be very specific as to the nature of the type(s) of problems that you are experiencing, along with any proposed solutions.

      I don’t think that your City would be able to pass a bylaw against a federal railway, but it would be very good if the City agreed to support affected residents, perhaps after receiving the petition.

      That support could be in the form of asking the City to approach the railways on behalf of affected residents and present your concerns, and then report back to your group as to the reply given by the railways.

      If there is no improvement after that, you might want to consider then approaching The Canadian Transportation Agency with your complaint as they do have jurisdiction to deal with noise and vibration complaints against federal railways.

      Hope this helps.

  7. Stephen C. Host permalink


    Whistling serves a direct purpose to warn oncoming motorists and pedestrians of an oncoming train. A train cannot stop for anything along the right of way due to basic physical laws, thus the whistle is required.

    Since Railways have been built 100 to 150 years ago, improvements to motorist and pedestrian signalling, as well as grade seperations (eliminating crossing protection) have been undertaken where feasible, and a process has been developed to apply for a cessation of whistling.

    Simply put — if a community can get Council and taxpayer support for improvements to railway crossings — the railway would be willing to upgrade said crossings, and only once upgraded, stop whistling except in an emergency. The funding fomula can be negotiated, and is project dependent, but 85% for the taxpayers and 15% for the railway seems to be typical. Depending on the nature of the project, the funding can be reversed significantly, often in the railways disfavour.

    Regardless, this is the process and all are encouraged to follow it.

    However, if a major improvement is forthcoming — usually this will follow some form of Environmental Assessment which should also take into account the effects to property and safety. This is the time to get involved and have funding alloted (from either Railway, Government (federal/provincial) or local Taxpayer (municipal) coffers to solve the issues identified. The blue-22 (pearson airport link) in Toronto is one such example, but what is brought to the table does need to be reasonable.

    Increases in traffic do not often count as an improvement — it would have to be major construction projects, such as double, triple , or quadruple tracking, or a new railway tunnel, or new (where one did not exist previously) railway line construction or new passenger service, such as initiation of GO train service to Guelph and Kitchener, Ontario.

    But I shall cast a dark side in all of this, which you should be aware:

    There were unfortunate incidents recently, such as the one in Brockville, Ontario, where a no-whistle bylaw went into effect, and of course all parties agreed and obliged. Unfortunately, two young children were struck by a train and one was killed, no thanks to the cessation of whistles, and immediately afterwards whistles had to be re-instated.

    Therefore, be careful what you wish for, and understand the risks before proceeding. What happened in Brockville is but one example, but there have been many, and a zeal for a better nights sleep might instead cost a lif. One has to especially consider the legacy of ones efforts — cessation of whistles — good nights sleep, sure, but then after you move out someone else is killed.

    A sad but true reality — Railways are not the only transportation medium with issues similar to this, think of the countless deaths, noise, and vibration on the roads — railways are angelic by comparison, and are a much safer way to ship freight and passengers.

    I will conclude by adding that part of the problem is the lack of funding offered to Railways by Government to help solve these problems. Roads get billions of dollars a year to improve, expand, and become safer, railways get hundreds of millions — often to just survive (in the case of passenger rail), despite the benefits. Move the traffic to the roads and you’ll have more pollution, more injuries, fatalities, and a higher cost for everything. If our Government offered more to Railways you would see much better action and faster process in terms of dealing with safety, noise, and vibration issues , as the money would be there.

    I hope this information can be considered useful, and I would be happy to discuss anything else as I am able to.

    – Stephen C. Host

    • trainjane permalink

      Mr. Host, you have brought up probably one of the most difficult issues of all surrounding rail transportation for communities – whistling.

      We have no firsthand knowledge of the Brockville incident that you recount; but from your account, this must have been a devastating tragedy for the families involved, for the rail crew, who must have been thoroughly traumatized, and for the community at large, which is likely back to a cycle of sleep disruption and impacted health again.

      As we do not know the details of this incident beyond what you have provided, we cannot comment about the role that whistling (or not) played in this accident. It is possible, however, that whistling might have been reinstated to curtail liability concerns.

      Whistling, however, in itself is no panacea for safety.

      There are plenty of accidents that happen despite whistling, and we think that it is very important to note that.

      In urban areas, one of the types of accidents that we’ve seen repeatedly is the motorist who hears the whistle, or sees the train, or both, and decides to try to beat it through the crossing. It’s a reckless thing to do. However, as trains that run through densely populated areas become longer, people realize that it could mean a considerable wait and do the unthinkable in order to save time so as to not be late for work, or whatever they are scheduled to do. Whistling doesn’t help in this situation.

      In other instances, the vehicle driver isn’t paying adequate attention, and/or has the audio system turned up. Maybe they’ll notice the whistle, maybe not.

      Another, a classic, is the person walking down the tracks with a headset on, with the volume turned up. Should the person be on the tracks? Of course not. Nonetheless, the only real chance that they will have is if they see the train first. Whistling won’t necessarily help here either. We agree with the focus taken by rail companies to address trespassing issues such as this.

      But the ultimate trespass for private citizens in many locales across the country is the nightly assault on their senses by train whistles inside their own homes when they are trying to sleep. Especially in urban areas, the vast majority of people who are disrupted, often repeatedly, are on their own property, and in their own beds. Often the level of noise pollution they experience would drown out the most obnoxious alarm clock.

      As a rail historian, we’re sure that you are familiar with the history of the train whistle. The world has changed, but the practice has not, with the exception that, in cases, some whistles are now even louder.

      With increasing freight volumes, and, in some communities, the fact that the majority of rail activity often takes place in the dead of night, there’s human health problem as a result, and one that affects tens of thousands of people in this country.

      Sleep deprivation is increasingly being recognized as a serious health problem, with mounting evidence as to the multitude of ways in which human health is impacted.

      We believe there is a need for an extensive study to examine the health implications of train whistling, particularly in populated areas.

      We think it’s time to consider the other side of whistling-related accidents, namely people attempting to operate cars or machinery after a night of poor quality sleep, due to being woken up by train whistles.

      It’s entirely possible that second-hand whistling is a factor in a percentage of accidents occurring at locations other than rail crossings, by people being adversely by a night of interrupted sleep as a result, and then trying to operate a vehicle.

      What is the long-term effect on personal health? And what is the estimated loss of productivity on the economy from sleep-deprived individuals trying to perform their job functions after inadequate, interrupted sleep? There are known cognitive issues at hand here.

      It’s a massive problem, and not one easily answered.

      In certain Canadian cities, we’ve heard that night flights have been banned in order to protect the public health. We know of one European country where railways no longer run at night, once again deciding that public health is the priority.

      We think that the best answer so far is from WHO, the World Health Organization which questions the social sustainability of current transportation policies, and we agree with that viewpoint, and that a balance must be found.

  8. Denise permalink

    Whistling is not a problem, I only mention it because the short blasts while passing the townhouse complex are meant to harass. However they are the least of our problems, and I find it amusing that the CN engineers are so immature and childish. As both a mother and teacher I am used to this kind of silly behavior. THE WHISTLES DONT WAKE ME UP OR BOTHER ME – ITS JUST BRATTY BEHAVIOR INTENDED TO HARASS.

    There is no crossing anywhere near the townhouse complex therefore there is nothing the community should be paying for – the CN should not be subsidized by any level of Govt and as a private company is NOT eligible for any subsidy. WHY should tax payers shovel out money to assist a private company? Who will be next at the trough? Trucking companies? Retailers?

    No amount of money would make the CN consider and respect the impact their speeding trains have on property and the health of people living in close proximity to their tracks. Their spokesperson has stated THE CN WILL NOT SLOW DOWN AND THEY DONT CARE IF THEY ARE DESTROYING PEOPLE’S HOMES AND THEIR HEALTH.

    Last night I was woke up FIVE times by being almost bounced out of bed by trains highballing through our area. The CN crashes cars together at 15 to 30 minutes intervals ALL night

    This is a highly populated residential area, WE ARE NOWHERE NEAR THE JUNCTION AND CANNOT HEAR THE NOISE WHEN THEY ARE BUILDING TRAINS. The only reason they are crashing cars together is because of the SPEED with which they are entering the city and the bottle neck they are approaching.

    When they double tracked in this area they created a bottle neck where it goes back to a single track. The frequency, weight, and speed of trains has increased greatly in the last 2 years. And now they also have to keep to a schedule as near as they can, something else the CN denied while I was talking to them but this is also in the company prospectus, history and profile –

    The need for speed to stick to their schedules has greatly increased noise, vibration, and accidents in order for the CN to maxamize profits for their share holders. Public health and safety, property damage and the repurcussions to communities and their employees is of NO concern to the CN




    This short whistling does NOT cause property damage, nor does it affect residents health the way being bounced out of bed up to 5 times a night does, or being woke up by cars crashing into each other repeatedly throughout the night and day, less than 100 feet from where the resident is sleeping .

    The Westsyde area of Kamloops is impacted by the CN crashing cars together while building trains and there are 1000’s of complaints from that area over the noise in the rail yard, THIS does NOT impact Brocklehurst


  9. Denise Laitinen permalink

    I had so little sleep last night that I dont even know if my postS make sense. My health and the health of everyone being impacted by the CN is being SERIOUSLY impacted

    For me its being woke up multiple times during the night from speeding trains shaking the house as if we are having an earth quake up to 5 or 6 times a night. Sleep depivation can cause SERIOUS and even FATAL health problems.

    The health and development of the babies and children living in this area is being seriously affected !

    Sleep deprivation can have serious effects on your health in the form of physical and mental impairments. Inadequate rest impairs our ability to think, handle stress, maintain a healthy immune system and moderate our emotions. In fact, sleep is so important to our overall health that total sleep deprivation has been proven to be fatal: lab rats denied the chance to rest die within two to three weeks.

    Without adequate rest, the brain’s ability to function quickly deteriorates. The brain works harder to counteract sleep deprivation effects, but operates less effectively: concentration levels drop, and memory becomes impaired.
    Similarly, the brain’s ability to problem solve is greatly impaired. Decision-making abilities are compromised, and the brain falls into rigid thought patterns that make it difficult to generate new problem-solving ideas. Insufficient rest can also cause people to have hallucinations. Other typical effects of sleep deprivation include:

    •heart disease
    •slower reaction times
    •slurred speech

    A person who loses one night’s sleep will generally be irritable and clumsy during the next day and will either become tired easily or speed up because of adrenalin. After missing two night’s sleep, a person will have problems concentrating and will begin to make mistakes on normal tasks. Three missed nights and a person will start to hallucinate and lose grasp of reality. Someone who gets just a few hours of sleep each night occurs a large “sleep debt” and can begin to experience many of the same problems over time. A 1997 study found that people whose sleep was restricted to four to five hours per night for one week needed two full nights of sleep to recover performance, alertness and normal mood.

    A recent U.S. Army study concluded sleep deprivation reduces emotional inteligence and constructive thinking skills.

    Other short-term consequences include:

    Decreased daytime alertness. Loss of just one and half hours sleep can result in a 32% reduction in daytime alertness.
    Impaired memory and cognitive ability, the ability to think and process information.
    More than double the risk of sustaining an occupational injury.
    Impaired immune system.
    Long-term consequences can include the following:

    High blood pressure
    Heart attack
    Heart failure
    Psychiatric problems such as depression and other mood disorders
    Mental impairment
    Increased mortality risk
    Relationship problems with a bed partner
    Obesity – (The link between obesity and sleep is an interesting one as lack of sleep can cause weight gain by increasing hunger and affecting metabolism, and extra weight can cause sleep disorders such as apnea which cause sleep deprivation.)

    Sleep Debt Can Be Dangerous
    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates conservatively that, during an average year, “drowsy driving” causes 100,000 automobile wrecks, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 20% of all drivers have dozed off at least once behind the wheel. Drowsy driving accidents are often more serious than other wrecks because they often occur on high speed highways (because the driver is maintaining the same speed for a long period of time), there is no attempt to avoid the crash since the driver’s eyes are closed and the driver is usually alone with no one to alert him or her. Adding to these alarming statistics is the fact that long-haul truck drivers tend to sleep only two to four hours per night.

    In addition to truck drivers, other adults who are especially vulnerable to sleep deprivation are shift workers. An alarming increase in the frequency of accidents is seen during the graveyard shift. Notable incidents that have been due in part to sleep deprivation have included the Exxon Valdez oil spill and Three Mile Island. Shift workers are also in the top three populations at the highest risk for drowsy driving automobile accidents.

    Does it make you crazy?
    No, sleep deprivation does not make people mentally ill in any meaningful sense. Insomnia is a very common symptom of many mental illnesses, so confusion occasionally arises about cause and effect. But sleep researchers do not feel that sleep deprivation causes psychosis or schizophrenia or depression or similar problems.

    “Visual misperceptions” happen to sleepy people, but these are not the same as hallucinations or waking dreams. Auditory hallucinations are not experienced by sleep deprived people


    Sleep deprivation in children is a real problem, and can effect every aspect of their well being

    Sleep deprivation in children has long been overlooked as a key contributor to kids’ physical and behavioral problems. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), “Problem sleepiness has serious consequences…in children, it increases the risk of accidents and injuries. In addition, lack of sleep can have a negative effect on children’s performance in school, on the playground, in extracurricular activities, and in social relationships.”

    Symptoms of sleep deprivation in children include:

    •Difficulties with focused attention
    •Easy Frustration
    •Difficulty controlling impulses
    •Difficulty controlling emotions
    •Less physical coordination
    •Increased behavioral ups and downs

    • trainjane permalink

      Denise, we are hoping that you will contact your Member of Parliament and ask for them to support the passage of Bill C-587 so that people affected by late night railway noise can get a good night’s sleep.

  10. Jon permalink


    One omission…..

    Your statement here is true,



    You do subsidize a private and publicly traded company. Just drive down the road. See how many Semi trucks are on PUBLIC roads, built with TAXPAYER DOLLARS. They are private companies, traded or not. People complain about the horrid condition of roads, yeah, look at the damage caused. Let alone here in Southern Ontario, American companies taking a shortcut at all of our expense.

    Railroads, pay their way, pay their taxes, pay their maintenance. If a truck goes down, company repairs it, and off they go beating the living hell out of our roads again, and again and again…..but very few actually realize that.

  11. Denise Laitinen permalink

    I didnt know about that Bill Trainjane and I will be contacting them. Woke up this morning and the trains had bounced my thermostat up to 78 F during the night. Once last night the house was actually making loud THUMPS as if it was being picked up and then slammed back down again — I checked CN for the cubic capacity of the new grain cars and how much a cubic foot of wheat weighs – the weight of those cars is SHOCKING !! Since they closed down Thunder Bay and/or switched the majority of its work over to Vancouver rail traffic has doubled and they expect it to increase by at least another 65% this year !!! We now have a train every 5 minutes for several hours during the night, at times. The noise and vibration levels depends on what crew is working too – we have all noticed its much worse on weekends. 2 constant offenders are the 3:30 AM (approximately) train leaving the junction and and the one entering the city at about the same time..

    5 hours of sleep Sunday night, 4 1/12 hours of sleep last night. Being this tired all the time means not having the energy to contact city hall, to get out with a petition etc I think its time the Ministry of Transportation took some responsibility and initiative for public health and safety

    I have another broken window, while the house was slamming against the ground a few nights ago at about 3:30 AM I heard it crack – thats the 3rd one this year. The thermostat is a constant problem, I usually get up several times in the night to turn it down after a train goes past.

  12. Stephen C. Host permalink

    The Brockville Incident:

    “An anti-whistling bylaw was in effect within the Brockville city limits. However, the locomotive bell was being rung as it approached the crossing”

    Both sides of the fence do exist:

    The fight in Landsdowne:

    And again — a no whistle bylaw will have the effect of leaving a legacy, where some poor misinformed soul will cross/tresspass on the tracks, not know a train is coming, and get killed. I assure you, whistles do save lives.

    Denise, do you live in a heavily populated area? Are there lots of tresspassers on your local railway? They will sound the horn at tresspassers.

    As well, accident rates have gone up? Quite the contrary actually

    I’m sorry you do not get enough sleep, but is there any reason why you continue to live by the tracks? I’ve lived in property not only a stones throw to railroad tracks, and busy trucking roads, and made quite a concencious decision not to live near any of it. Your health will surely appreciate a change of scenery, based on what you say here. And this does not mean you have to stop advocating for your cause..

  13. Denise permalink

    Since last posting to this site I have had a heart attack which left me with damaged heart muscles, I feel strongly that sleep deprivation, and stress was a major factor. Prior to moving here I had NO health problems.

    I would move in a second if I could sell my house, since train traffic has increased by approx 75% and is expected to increase approx 100% over the next 3 years it is pretty well impossible for me to sell my house, When I moved here there were at the very most 10 trains over a 24 hour periods, now there is a train every 15 mins/ half an hour 24 hours a day, and often one leaving the city the same time one is entering.

    Prices for townhouses in our complex have dropped from $235,000.00/ $ 280,000.00 to $165.000.00 and people havent been able to sell.

    I have also had 3 more broken windows from the CN, 2 from vibration, bouncing my house right off the ground and slamming it back down again and 1 by reverberation coming from slamming cars together braking entering the city at over 80 MPH and then hitting the brakes to slow down to for the 50 zone. Just now, at 12:10 AM the noise coming off cars slamming together rattled windows and doors – it frequently causes ear aches and ringing in people’s ears. A week ago a little boy living in our complex waved to an engineer and the engineer gave him the finger, they are still blowing whistles through the sub division, one long blast all the way through. Bell ringing also continues. Since the election and Peter Julians Private Members bill has to go through the entire process again because it didnt make it committee hearing the CN is moving all their single traffic in and out on the track closest to our homes, the trains are often exceeding legal speed limits which are already set way too high. One thing we have to do is have the speed limit reduced.

    I response, again, to some comments the CN is NOT owned by the Canadian Government and as such is responsible for its own cost of compensating home owners for property damage and for taking necessary steps to stop its violation of Canada Transport Laws, this is NOT the responsibility of Cdn tax payers. All profits from the CN go directly to their stock holders, not to the Cdn public. .

    The CN has shown what is IMO a criminal disregard for the safety and health of Cdns, including the infants and babies who are being terrorized all night long by the sound of cars slamming into each other, their sleep is disrupted, ADD, hearing problems, anxiety disorders are just a few of the health problems that are common as a result of children living in “war zones” and that is EXACTLY what these children are living in – the sound of bombs and explosions 24 hrs a day and night or the sound of rail cars slamming into each other are pretty much the same,.

    The “explosions” created by the CN break windows, lightbulbs explode and shower glass everywhere – there is no difference in terms of the resulting trauma and health problems for children and infants.

    As for vibration problems its no different than having up to a dozen earthquakes a day, that break glassware, knock pictures and mirrors off walls, send things crashing to the floor and also break windows, light bulbs etc

    Since the explosion that rattled the windows at 12:10 AM there is now another train highballing into the city, at 12:27 AM – brakes squealing, and again cars slamming into each other and another leaving the city – thats THREE trains in 17 minutes that have gone past my house – a helluva change from at the most 10 over a 24 hour period.

    This is NOT acceptable and IMO its past time for a class action lawsuit against the CN

    • trainjane permalink

      Denise, We are very sorry to receive this update on your circumstances.

      Note to our readers: The above comment is the opinion of our reader, Denise, and the views presented in this comment do not necessarily reflect the views of Rail and Reason.

      To us, these comments underscore the need for better communication, co-operation, and viable solutions between rail interests and communities. This is an example of the type of conflict we want to see resolved.

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