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We’d like to hear your story about how railway noise and vibration has affected you, and your community. Tell us about the problems you’ve had – or are continuing to have – with railway noise and vibration. How has it affected you and your quality of life? We’d like to hear about your successes and frustrations in resolving your concerns, as well as hear what current conditions are like in your area.

News Articles, Blogs, Stories and Comments from Ontario Residents  … and Posts Relating to Ontario …

  1. Brampton:  Residents comment below.
  2. Kenora:  Residents comment below.
  3. St. Thomas:  See the post Leasing a Loophole.
  4. Thornhill:  See the article Thornhill, Ontario Residents Welcome Bill C-587.
  5. Vanleek Hill:  See the article Vanleek Hill, ON: CN Rail Idling Locomotives.
  6. Windsor:  Residents comment below.
  7. Woodstock:  See the post This Blog Needs the Railway Point of View.
  8. Barrie:  See the post Communities in the News.
  9. Hamilton:  See the post Communities in the News.
  10. Parry Sound:  See the post Communities in the News: The List Continues to Grow.
  11. Toronto:  See the post Communities in the News: The List Continues to Grow.
  12. Sudbury:  See the post Communities in the News: The List Continues to Grow.
  13. Tillsonburg:  See the post Communities in the News: The List Continues to Grow.
  14. Toronto:  See the website Clean Train Coalition.
  15. Weston:  See the website Weston Community Coalition.
  16. Parry Sound:  View the local blog Parry Sounds & Sights.
  17. Toronto:  See the post Communities in the News: Health and Environmental Concerns Raised.
  18. Hamilton:  See the post Communities in the News: Health and Environmental Concerns Raised.
  19. Burlington:  See the post: Via Rail Tragedy Gives Pause for Reflection.

    I live in Brampton, Ont. and have a had problem since 1997, delt with CN on many occasions and with the mayor,,Had a meeting April 15th,2003. They worked on the track, however the vibration is still shaking my house, to the point where I am not able to sleep.The trains are heavy and travel fast at times, especially during the night, my bed shakes and the mirrors rattle. and have cracks in the walls of my building. I have several letters signed by the neighbours who are having the same problems. If they are going to have 55 trains a day pass through Brampton, then must enforce a law to have them slow down, or keep fixing the tracks and the bridge so it is not causing problems. This problem has been very stressful and has effected my health.

    Christine Merrifield

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Christine,

      One of the first things you might consider doing is having someone from the City contact CN or Transport Canada and ask what is the current speed designated for the area in question is, as a starting point.

      This site exists in part to help people such as yourself.

      There is plenty of information on this site, and links, to help you apply for mediation with the railway company concerning their noise and vibration.

      Consider collecting signatures on a petition to submit with your application.

      We wish you well in moving forward and getting resolution in this matter.

      Please keep in touch.

  2. sleepless in Kenora permalink

    I have had issues with CP rail leaving their engines idling all night long and have phoned CP rail only to be told the same thing….the rail has been there over 100 years and if I don’t like it I can move. This happens continuously at 2 am, 3 am. Why should I have to move because of their noise? They are not supposed to leave free engines running all night, but they do. They are supposed to be “parked” further back, so as not to disturb residents, however they park close to the station so they do not have to walk as far to their vehicles. Also we have to consider the noise pollution. It is a never-ending situation. I have contacted my MP’s office and will submit my complaint to him. I will also ask him to support Bill C-587 because, as Peter Julian has stated, “…all Canadians are entitled to a good night’s sleep” !

    • trainjane permalink

      We recommend that you contact your local health department or city/municipal hall and have them ask CP about its locomotive idling policy, in writing. We also suggest that they ask CP where the designated area for parking idling locomotives is located, and if there’s a shop track with spill trays for them.
      Let CP know, in writing, your specific concerns. Are they following their own policy? Idling locomotives are a recognized possible source of noise and vibration under the Guidelines drawn up by The Canadian Transportation Agency. You can find links on our site.
      If you feel that your concerns have not been resolved, consider filing for mediation with the Agency listed above.
      Railways are obligated to make only as much noise and vibrations as reasonable, under current legislation. If CP is not leaving their idling locomotives where they’re supposed to, it is possible that this could lead to unreasonable noise and vibration.
      We hope this helps.

    • fedup permalink

      I live in Vaudreuil-Dorion, quebec, have suffered all night long train vibration from CP engines left running. Have complained to CP, local MNA, the City of Vaudreuil-Dorion still problem persists. I plan to move.

      • trainjane permalink

        We are very sorry to hear this, it happens all too often.

        You state that you have contacted your M.N.A. (FYI: for our readers, a M.N.A. is a M.L.A. in other provinces) – could we suggest that you also contact your M.P. as well? Your M.P. represents your area on a federal level, as railway noise and vibration falls under federal jurisdiction.

        Please let them know that this problem is severe enough that you feel you have little alternative except to give up your home and move.

        We think it’s quite likely that this problem may very well continue after you leave, for other people, so it would be a helpful gesture if your elected representative there is made aware of the problem now, in the event of its continuation.

    • Hildi Haapanen permalink

      I live in Port Hope and CP drivers blow all night long. I have phoned to complain, but NOTHING has been done .Daytime VIA “outlaws” make you jump on your seat if you’re sitting in the back yard.
      Visitors ask “Are they aloud to blow so loud ?”
      Looks like they don’t have any rules.
      CN drivers are more civil.

      • trainjane permalink

        Train whistles can measure in excess of 90 decibels, and that’s a volume which is proving excessive and disruptive for many people.

        We’ve posted numerous other comments recently about whistling, and having it stopped. Perhaps review a few of these and see if there is anything that can be done there to curb the whistling problem in your community.

        You might also review the section about whistling on our resource page.

        • DouHig permalink

          Train horns, please. No whistles in years.

          The sound of thundering freight trains is music to the ears of retirees.

          It’s their pension rumbling by.

          With a stop at the nearest CIBC.

          • trainjane permalink

            Must be a slow day in your retirement oasis when the only excitement is simply passing the buck. Remember the old adage about doing onto others…

            On that note, I’ll wish you well and hope that you can find it in yourself to have a measure of goodwill for the folks who are struggling here.

      • Debbie permalink

        We’ve found the same thing in our neighbourhood! Some of the engineers are from the US and it tends to be them who blow the longest and loudest – whether they have different rules over there or they are just obnoxious, I don’t know. We have the odd engineer who blows very softly especially at night and they are very much appreciated especially since there are homes on each side of the tracks in our rural area. I have family and friends who work for CN that is how I know about the issues with the American engineers.

        • trainjane permalink

          This is the first time I’ve heard this comparison and complaint… Has there been any change?

  3. sleepless in Kenora permalink

    Sorry, that should say “we have to consider the AIR pollution”. Thank you.

  4. M.Bondy permalink

    I live in Windsor, Ont. We had no idea when we purchased our house 7 years ago there was a problem with idling trains. My Grandmother had lived in the house for 49 years. She died of lung cancer. I have always wondered if her lung cancer was linked to the trains. We wake up with headaches and feeling ill all the time, due to the trains idling. We can feel the vibrations in our bedroom from the trains. I have also suffered with asthma problems since we moved here. We have found a black coating on our windows and anything that is left outside our house. I will not plant a garden due to this. The government needs to step up to put a stop to Idling trains. I have called CP several times since we have moved here . They ask me to write down the number of the train to report it. It hasn’t done us any good. The trains even idle when the weather is warmer. CP seems to have gotten away for this for years and will continue. Until families step up and push the government to end this. I have called city council and members of parliament and will continue to keep calling.

    • trainjane permalink

      Have you asked CP to clearly state what their policy is regarding fuel conservation and iding diesel locomotives?

      We recommend this as your starting point in tackling this problem. It would be likely very beneficial if you could ask an elected representative from Windsor (your M.P. or Mayor, for example) to request clarification on this policy on your behalf.

      Have them ask for clarification, in writing, regarding when locomotives are to be shut off, after how long they are to be shut off, and where the shop track is located for parking the engines. Are the engines being parked in the designated area? Is the designated area in a location in which is, in itself, causing problems with noise, vibration, and fumes?

      Ask why CP is not using idle reduction technology there to reduce noise, vibration, and fumes, and cut fuel consumption. We mention this as you note this problem can occur during warmer weather.

      We further recommend keeping a detailed, and very accurate log about this problem. Include the date, time, and duration of the occurences, as well as the total numbers of locomotives involved.

      Try to get and record the identifying numbers of the engines themselves if possible without setting foot on railway property to do so.

      Lastly, add to your notes the officially-recorded temperature (high and low, if idling for an extended period) using Environment Canada’s recorded temperature for your area. This can easily be found on their website, and is extremely useful and accurate.

      CP needs to know, in writing, specifically what problems you are experiencing with their operations.

      Under federal legislation, a railway company must contain noise and vibration to reasonable levels.

      If you are unable to resolve this problem with CP, you can then apply for mediation with CP through the Canadian Transportation Agency.

      You will find links on our site here. Please review The Canadian Transportation Agency’s site thoroughly – you will find that they identify noise and vibration from idling locomotives as one of the potential problem areas that they could consider for mediation.

      Fumes and health issues are not part of the CTA’s mandate as of yet. Ask your local health department to visit and inspect the soot that you’ve noted around your home, and ask them to follow up any concerns that they might have as a result with the railway.

      We wish you the best in moving forward with your concerns; please keep us updated and let us know of your progress.

  5. Mary Reaume permalink

    Hi: I live in Windsor on Memorial Drive. They built the new underpass which opened last year on Howard Avenue. The trains were noisy before that, but WOW – NOW – the vibration and echo from the trains since the underpass has opened has increased significantly. I have prepared a petition which our City Council rep will be taking to review. Myself and another resident met with CP officicials about the noise, shunting, dynamic air braking, idling and diesel fume discharge as well as the speed used considering some of the items the trains carry are toxic. This is a residential area with seniors and children living and playing within 50 feet of these trains. The trains blow through here all hours of the day and night. We were told this stretch of the railway is a “sterile corridor” as all trains that go to the US enter the railway under the Detroit River. There were a number of evergreen trees that were taken out along this track after 911 with promises to put up some type of barrier to reduce noise, which has never ocurred. The rail is wide open for anyone to cross and the noise is unbearable. We are looking to submit a copy of the petition with an application for review to the Canada Transportation Agency as well. I can’t believe that we are living with these conditions knowing the ill effects noise and vibration related to operation of trains have caused on human beings. I do understand that goods must get from A to B, but that business should be done responsibly with due dilligence for the protection of human beings our most precious commodity, no matter what. Mary Reaume

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Mary,

      Your letter echoes what is becoming a familiar theme for us in two regards.

      The first is that the problems that you describe are a result of changes initiated by the railway. The second is that our impression is that, based on what you’ve written, you come across to us as being realistic and reasonable.

      We continue to hear from people like yourself that have been subjected to a major change to rail operations that they could not likely have ever anticipated happening, nor the impact it would have upon their lives.

      Did the railway provide the residents any notice of this change before it was made?

      You mention “promises to put up some type of barrier to reduce noise, which has never occurred.” Who made these promises, and was any of this ever put into writing?

      You mention children playing within 50 feet of the trains – does this refer to residential yards, public parks, or something else? Could you describe this area more clearly. Does Transport Canada (separate from The Canadian Transportation Agency) know of the resident’s safety concerns there, including proximity (the children’s) to the trains and concerns about train speed? What is the train speed for the area you are concerned about?

      Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the Canadian Transportation Agency’s Guidelines for rail noise and vibration complaints, links can be found on our resources page.

      Consider keeping an incidents log detailing time, location, type of noise and/or vibration concern, and corresponding locomotive engine numbers, if visible from property that does not belong to the railway.

      Have any noise studies been conducted there?

      As for your petition, please note that whistling is a separate issue handled by Transport Canada, the railway, and City officials. The Canadian Transportation Agency is more directed to concerns about other type of railway noise and vibration, and whether or not they are reasonable.

      So, if it is your opinion that the noise and vibration is not of a reasonable nature, it might be helpful to explain specifically what you and your neighbours find unreasonable about it.

      Let us know how your efforts progress.

  6. Gretchen Harris permalink

    Port Hope Ontario – we live less than 500 feet away from the double tracks – there are numerous level crossings in the area and of course the whistles blow loud and long with every train that passes. There are currently approximately 56 trains per day (and night!!) which seem to be getting longer and heavier (and louder) with every season – many now are ‘double decker’ shipping containers and airplane fuel tankers. In addition to the general noise and disturbance of this constant traffic, I have grave concerns about the safety of the two very high historic railway overpasses here – especially on windy days! In light of the disaster in Burlington last month, and the derailment between Cobourg and Port Hope last year. I keep thinking that if a train were to derail on those overpasses and those double decker cars were to topple off – it would be a total nightmare! If toxic substances were to crash from that height, it would destroy our town!
    While I understand the economic need for rail traffic, I think that the rail lines should be re-routed into an area which does not have such a dense population or such risky overpasses.

  7. Jeff Willsie permalink

    To Nimbys
    People moved in beside the railway of their own free will. I you dont like living in the back yard of the railway, move!In 35 years at CPR i was on strike many times & every time the federal government forced us back to work within 2 weeks, as the operation of the railway is critcal for a prosperous economy.The economy is the most important issue today.The railway shall have more traffic as oil prices rise so if you do not like the noise,vibration & diesel exaust then of course you should move as the railway cannot.
    Jeff Willsie
    Ontario Southland Railway

    • trainjane permalink

      Where the railway can move, Mr. Willsie, is in terms of shifting its attitudes as to how it views and values resident community stakeholders in its operations.

      Basic cooperation and mutual respect will become increasingly important over time as rail traffic increases and residential presences grow.

    • John permalink

      really dude I have lived across from the railway for 28 years and never had any issues until GEXR came to town.. now they run the engines all night long directly across from my house.. even in the hottest summer nights.. the engines are so old that pure diesel fuel blows out and covers everything for several blocks in our area.. yes I could move and no the railway cannot… however they could listen to all of us home owners and repair or buy newer engines that do not blow pure diesel into the air.. trying to communicate and resolve any issues with this company has fallen on deaf ears.. I think its the attitude that they are untouchable that pisses people off the most.

      • trainjane permalink

        We get more complaints about idling in comparision to anything else… A pity that Railpower, who made ultra-low emission locomotives could not make a go of it here in Canada, and, despite a federal bailout, had to move to the U.S.

  8. Jeff Willsie permalink

    Hi Train Jane
    I see you views & values of trying to stop train operations fron 2200 hrs to 0800 hrs as an assult on the economy of Canada, so there can be no basic cooperation or mutual respect. Your position is absolutely rediculous.
    The railways nor the government are not responsible for your foolish real estate desisions.
    Jeff Willsie
    Ontario Southland Railway

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Mr. Willsie,

      My views and values? Really? How did you arrive at this erroneous conclusion? Perhaps you intend this as a backwards complement, but, I can honestly say that I’ve had no hand in the drafting of the text for Bill C-393 which seeks to limit hours of operations for trains as you take exception to.

      That’s a Parliamentary Bill, tabled by Member of Parliament Peter Julian.

      Get your facts straight first, Mr. Willsie, before pointing a foolish finger elsewhere.

    • I fail to see how you determined that stopping train operations from 2200 hrs to 0800 hrs is an assault on the economy of Canada. There’s more than one way to skin a cat & rail companies commonly rely on fear tactics such as threatening the breakdown of the economy if they have to do a decent days work. Goods will still be shipped regardless.

    • John Brownridge permalink

      Hi Jeff Willsie:

      You have signed yourself as President of Ontario Southland Railway. No one believes you are President of a railway company because you cannot spell or write a sentence grammatically. You are clearly someone with little education trying to make mischief on this site. Go and have fun somewhere else.

      • trainjane permalink

        Mr. Brownridge, concerning Mr. Willsie, President of Ontario Southland Railway; we write back to verify his comments prior to publishing.

  9. Gretchen Harris permalink

    WOW!!! WHAT BLISS!!!!!!!

    CP freight on strike today!! The silence is GOLDEN here in Port Hope!!

    • trainjane permalink

      How have things been since CP Rail was sent back to work?

  10. rob hunter permalink

    I live in Brockville and VIA Rail has parked engines on idle all night the last week because of the CP Rail strike. They park them right at the train station in a residential neighourhood and cause us to lose sleep and smell fumes ( house is a 100 ft from the train\)> VIA’s response was the noise bylaw allows them to do it, so they are doing it and screw you.

    They didn’t notify us they would be doing this, nor did they reach out to the households and inform them what was happening. VIA is not a responsible corporate citizen at all!

    • trainjane permalink

      We suggest that you contact Environment Canada, who have been looking into the issue of locomotive idling and emissions and let them know about this incident.We feel that there is a real need to regulate this type of situation and protect the public from rail practices such as the one you describe.

  11. A. Price permalink

    I’ve been living (by circumstance) approximately 100 feet from the tracks by the Paris Street overpass in Sudbury for almost six months. There are 21 tracks layed side by side and six or more trains stopped at any given time of the day. The trains run all day and all night – there is never a reprieve.

    While we are fortunate that we do not have to endure the train horns, we do experience the shaking of the building, the screeching of the wheels on the tracks, the smashes and bangs and the trains stop outside our door. Several times a week we will hear a bang so loud it makes us jump. There has not been one night in six months when I’ve not been woken up in the night several times by the trains.

    Being a relatively new resident of Sudbury I am shocked that the rail company feels it’s still necessary to run trains THROUGH the heart of the city 24/7. There are no sound walls, no barriers of any kind to buffer the noise. There is talk of beautifying the downtown core around this area however no mention of beautifying the air waves with changes or improvements to the current rail system.

    I’m honestly at my wits end with sleep deprivation and stress from the noise all day and all night long.

    • trainjane permalink

      We’re sorry to hear about your situation. Consider letting your civic officials know that beauty, in this case, is in both the eye and the ear of the beholder, and, on this basis, perhaps should consider some acoustical testing of overall noise levels as a starting point of any “beautification” project…

  12. Jeff Willsie permalink

    Dear Mr Price
    You moved into the railways back yard of your own free will.The railway is not responsible for your foolish real estate decisions.The solution for your problem is to move.You have the same chance of changing the railway as a person living next to the 401 has in stopping the 24/7 operation of the truck traffic.
    A restfull night is just a move away.
    Jeff Willsie
    Ontario Southland Railway

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Mr. Willsie,
      Just a reminder that the railways do have responsibilities to residents, and one of those responsibilities is to make only such noise and vibration as reasonable.

    • A Price permalink

      Mr. Willsie,

      Your response is pretentious and arrogant.

      Unlike those living next to the 401, the railway refuses to put up accoustic barriers nor planted trees for natural sound absorbtion. Both of which show responsible consideration for human beings and the quality of life around the tracks.

      And, it is Ms. Price.

  13. Jeff Willsie permalink

    Ms Price
    Why should the railway put up sound barriers? The railway was, for shure ,there long before you were born.You chose to live by the railway ,you chose to live with the noise & vibration.Maby you should put up the noise barrier.By the way most of the 401 does not have noise barriers & i see a lot of country homes beside it.The raiway is not responsible for your stupid real estate decisions. Buyer beware & location, location, location govern real estate.
    Lets take Mr Bickley in Woodstock for example.He says he has been living next to the railway for 40 years & complaining for 20 years. There has been no relief for him for 40 years & there is no change comming. Folks that do not like the noise & vibration of the railway should move or live with it as no change is is comming in the forseable future.
    Maby your city council can build a barrier & then your property taxes can go up 20 or 30%
    Moving is the only quick solution for your problem.

    Jeff Willsie
    Ontario Southland Railway

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Mr. Willsie,

      Why should the railway put up sound barriers? Would the question more realistically be, why shouldn’t the polluter pay?

      We also disagree with you that there is “no change coming.” (sic)

      This issue is continuing to gather momentum, Mr. Willsie, or to put into your terms, the train has already left the station.

      There has already been one Decision rendered by The Canadian Transportation Agency that placed the responsibility for the financing and installation of noise barriers squarely in the railway’s lap, where it belongs:

      We’re hoping for more Decisions where the polluter pays.

  14. Jeremy permalink

    I moved in beside a railway track 5 years ago and have noticed more traffic than when it started. However, I moved in beside a track and my house was cheaper because the track was there! When CP added a shunting yard about 1 mile from my house, they had to have a public meeting to discuss the change and answer the concerns of residents. This seems to be common practice when changes to the rail system (or roads, developments, etc.) are made. I understand idling changes aren’t necessarily dealt with the same way, but I think we should understand that we moved beside a railroad and transportation changes do take place. Rail is the cheapest and safest mode of transport for goods (especially hazardous), so if we are going to keep this economy going, we need rail to keep moving. If all of this traffic moved onto roads, it would be an absolute nightmare for all of us. So, I understand it is an annoyance (sometimes even more than that), but we did move beside the rail and there is some expectation of noise and impact on residents from that.

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Jeremy,

      Many of the folks that we hear from are very reasonable in their acceptance that living in proximity to rail operations means that there will be some level of disruption.

      The problem occurs when those levels become excessive, or when the railway initiates changes without consultation with residents, you are the first person we’ve heard from that received advanced warning of a change to rail operations, so we can’t agree with you that it is common practice, but would welcome it occurring more than it currently is.

      We agree with your comments about the importance of rail transportation, and think it will become increasingly so. However, we also believe that there is a need for railways to establish better relationships with resident stakeholders, and for clear and concise standards and limits established concerning the amount of noise and vibration emanating from their operation.

      The majority of industries in this country face various limits or restrictions to the pollution that they create; why should railways be immune?

      Much of the real estate in urban areas in around rail operations is anything but “cheap.” They’re not making any more land, and as land becomes more scarce in more densely populated areas, the need for railways and residents to coexist will become increasingly important.

  15. Mark Smith permalink

    diesel locomotive run so smooth, I have one idling outside my place right now. There
    not annoying in the least.

    • trainjane permalink

      We’re glad to hear that you’re not affected by the idling of locomotives by your home. Not all of the diesel locomotives currently in use in this country “run so smooth,’ as the one you mention.

      Some series of locomotives are extremely noisy, and the much larger, more powerful locomotives that major railways have further worsened problems with vibration.

      We also take it that you keep your windows closed when the locomotives idle by your home, given the growing understanding of the health hazards linked to diesel emissions.

  16. Bill C-587 has what status today? What is its expectation?
    Spectrum emissions: what jurisdiction in the world has enacted legislation that objectively measures the morphology and range of spectrum emissions, especially those generated in right of way corridors that employ rail technology? What cognitive organization of remedies, and more importantly, penalties is out there?
    Bill C-587 can only be understood as a band-aid, a required start, certainly not a remedy to the reality of Canadian urban right of ways.
    The stone walling on this reality must cease!

    • trainjane permalink

      To answer your question: Bill C-587, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act (railway noise and vibration control) is a Private Member’s Bill tabled by M.P. Peter Julian.

      It’s still at its first reading in Parliament, you can check the Parliamentary website for updates.

      In an earlier response, we noted that the Federal Government is drafting regulations pertaining to railway emissions, under the Railway Safety Act.

      We will be providing more details as they become available.

  17. CPR: profit b4 corporate citizen permalink

    It is clear when CPR , or any railway sees their profit margin being affected, they call the legislators. Yet, they will not make that call to make sure the same happens to mitigate disruption to expanding communities . Legislators need to remember it’s not a one way track to their offices. They need to demand the railways mitigate by working with local government planning groups.Legislate it when they omit to do so. It’s accountability, and Canada lacks it in their rail regulations.

    • trainjane permalink

      Thanks for writing to us.

      We understand what you’re saying but we don’t completely agree.

      Currently, the Federal Government is drafting provisions to help regulate locomotive emissions.

      We’re hopeful that both community interests and the environment will benefit, and the railways might even benefit themselves by conserving more fuel…

      There was, in our opinion, a trend towards deregulation of the rail industry in the past, but as problems have surfaced, with the environment, for residents, for rail customers and even rail employees, the Federal Government has been slowly but systematically improving regulation and filling in those voids in which occurred problems previously.

      We think there is much more to be done, and our view is that a lack of regulation for noise and vibration from 2000 to 2007 was devastating for numerous communities, as rail traffic grew, and problems compounded.

      Regulations previously in place were overturned in a legal challenge by CN in 2000. Parliament stepped in, responding to mounting public concerns and complaints, and amended The Canada Transportation Act in 2007 and re-regulated noise and vibration.

      We’re concerned as to whether current regulations in this regard go far enough, and that is something that we’re watching closely.

      However, one area that we’re very concerned about is the issues surrounding the Proximity Report prepared by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Railway Association of Canada.

      Despite going to considerable lengths to define criteria for distances to separate railway interests from residential homes, it is thoroughly alarming to see that it is having very little effect on the problem as local authorities keep approving new residential construction outside of the report’s recommended distances, while the railways similarly expand closer to where people live.

      It’s almost as if there needs to be something spelled out in Ottawa about proximity so that local Governments start getting the message, and railways better manage expansion to mitigate the impact on those who stand to be affected.

  18. Steamed permalink

    Mr. Willsie, first of all I do not believe you are who you make yourself out to be. Surely a President of a Railway Company has enough education to be able to spell words correctly. You are a dinosaur in a Technologically advanced society. Of course the railways are changing, new engines emitting less pollution, different engineering for track maintenance and new train yards being built away from residential areas. These are only a few innovations on the books for trains. So your comments about where people live, who should buy what are a total waste of time, you are on your way of of your job and probably in many other areas of your life as well. Today is all about the environment, cooperation and shared concerns being resolved. We have all learned who conflict can and does destroy lives. I just had to lace into you…enough already … lets work to solve problems together.

  19. I live ate Keele and Dundas and the trains flux and noise have increase during the night hours (12:00am to 6:00am) Very disrupting. We need serious rules on that. Please help.

    • trainjane permalink

      Night time railway noise and vibration is problem in many cities and areas across Canada, including the Toronto area. We question what the overall impact of rail operations late night is having on human health, well-being, and productivity.

      We believe that there is a need for a nation-wide study of sleep disruption from rail activity, and that those results, in our opinion, could be potentially shocking.

      Yes, we need, as you say “serious rules.” We need limits based on recognized criteria of the effects of excessive noise on human health.

      While the rail industry argues to maintain the status quo based on their economic contribution, we would like to see how much that contribution is costing the economy, based on such aspects as lost productivity from citizens across Canada deprived or denied adequate rest by an industry that has yet to establish limits or standards for its own self-generated noise pollution.

  20. Christie permalink

    I live in Brampton, had to fight to get the tracks repaired, and the trains still do speed through Brampton, especially during the night. the house shakes, l guess they can get away with it at night,
    just waiting for a derailment, maybe that will wake them up…Too bad, but that is how it works, always have to have something happen before they wakeup….

  21. Aliengoo permalink

    The concerns: Canadian Transportation Agency has ruled where the railways precede development, there’s no need for enforcement to protect the affected public.There’s no enforcement on municipalities to actually do land planning to meet applicable provincial,or federal guidelines when it comes to noise,and vibration for example. Reducing the pollution level from diesel,who regulates those levels in Canada? UNLESS those impacted can call on Mike Moore,or afford the help from Erin Brockovich where she’s got the experience,and media draw to highlight a problem.The railways have no need to blast through residential neighborhoods between 12am-6am. North America should take a look at the European countries who have clean energy regulations,using electric trains,restricted hours for noise and vibration producing equipment…Legislation fails when those being regulated to protect the whole are given unprecedented access to a regulator to collaborate on forming rules a business needs to comply with.

  22. Emily permalink

    I live in Newcastle & my Real Estate Agent after me advising her I had noise sensitivity, sold me a house unbeknownst to me approx. 2km away from the CP Rail Line, which could not be seen from my home that I viewed 3 times. Aswell, never heard any train horns during the times I viewed. On the evening of moving in @3:00am, was abruptly awakened by the loud auditory assault, aswell as house vibrations. I immediately emailed my Agent requesting to have all of my moving expenses associated with this covered by them. They have refused stating I should of known, which I’m now in the process of a civil suit. So my situation is not that I knew about the track, or that my home would be cheaper if I moved into such an area. I knew about my noise issue, relayed it to the Agent & trusted her to do her job, as I didn’t know the Durham region, she did. Today I sit here depressed, unable to function & enjoy my new home experience, due to sleep depravity, which does affect our overall health & well-being greatly.
    CP Rail doesn’t seem to have any respect for the Residential areas, where there is no consistency with the amount of whistle blowing. It all depends who’s the conductor that night, rather then by the standard of which the industry’s requirements are.

    • Susan Doerntlein permalink

      Just reading all the comments and can truly understand. My husband and l stayed at a friends cottage last night in Torrance Ontario. We had the windows open as it was hot BUT rudely woke with a train horn around 10:00 pm that never stopped all night… one point we could hear 2-horns ….1-close and one in a distance as if the trains where sending horn messages to each other…….all night it was trains and fast long very long trains with very loud whistles and horns……could not believe the sound….we thought it was maybe 10- trains from 10:00 pm right into the night till maybe 3:00am. We maybe had 2-hours sleep in total…….just got to sleep then the train was coming…….left a beautiful cottage at 7:30 am to rush home to Toronto to get sleep. Seriously……….
      So your point is well taken that if l was buying this cottage and went to look at it during the day when it was quiet all would be perfect…………….night time would of killed me :(. My heart goes out to anyone with this problem………..Sue.D ( Scarborough,Ontario. Canada )

  23. Mary Reaume permalink

    Hello: I just recently moved out of Windsor where I lived no more than 90 feet from the 911 declared Sterile Shipping Corridor. I have not slept in almost three years. I could not function anymore, so I moved. I don’t have a job and I can’t put a price on the impact of the cost of living there. And, I put approx. $5000.00 dollars into my little pre-retirement unit to no avail. I am now in Kingsville and sleeping for the firs time in years for the most part. I rented the unit and CP weeds were so high – like trees – that I never saw the tracks until some time later. Actually, I think the Landlord should inform you as under the law I have the right to “reasonable enjoyment” of my unit. There needs to be a Class Action in Ontario to make the changes required to safeguard our health and well-being a priority. I mean, The CEO of CP made over 45 million last year… a misprint??? All the business is certainly to keep our economies going, but the mask is GREED.

  24. @Christie: Who repaired the tracks?
    There’s a condo development 100 meters away from a CPR mainline track,enclosed link of their noise meter recordings.Municipal government has allowed the development to proceed,without confirming mitigation was in fact done after the planning approval,and permits issued.Canadian Transportation agency confirms the distance to the CPR tracks,and remarked on the apparent lack of mitigation.This condo resides in Ontario,and the Ministry of Environment maximum indoor sound level is: 40dBa.Maximum outdoor Living Areas Road and Rail :55 Leq dBA You will see the video sound recordings exceed these levels.Canadian Transportation Agency needs to ensure mitigation,the railway operations need to mitigate,ensure municipalities work with their operations as density increases.

  25. Christie permalink

    I have called twice to CN in Montreal regarding the speed/noise/vibration, have not heard back…
    The track at the crossing needs repair, l have also reported that a few weeks ago, nothing has been done… The heavy trains are speeding during the night between 10pm and 6am…

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Christie,

      Try calling CN Public Affairs at 1-888-888-5909, or, better yet, email them at

      Personally, I recommend putting everything in writing to them, and copying yourself.

      Best Regards,


      • Christine Merrifield permalink

        Could you please email me other complaints re rail noise, Thanks

        • trainjane permalink

          Hello Ms. Merrifield, I would suggest subscribing to The Canadian Transportation Agency’s website for the most up-to-date, and accurate information in this regard.

  26. Nicole permalink

    I have just moved to Woodstock Ont with my baby and my husband, and I must say I am very disappointed in the speed of these trains. We have a railroad right behind our house, so of course we were aware of noise. However, the trains go by so fast its absolutely unacceptable. As a mother of a young child this is very concerning for me, not only because of the noise but for safety reasons! There is no reason why these trains need to go this fast when they are 20 feet from family homes!

    • trainjane permalink

      Hi Nicole,

      The trains are a mere 20′ from your home? Wow.

      A starting point might be to contact Transport Canada in your area and ask their rail division what the speed limit is along your way, and advise them of your concerns.

      However, regardless of how fast or how slow the trains pass, it’s important to remember that it takes time for a train to stop, no matter what. Add the presence of small children to that mix, and there’s potentially a serious situation that needs to be addressed in the best interests of safety for everyone.

  27. Jon Brownridge permalink

    Port Hope is a wonderful, idyllic town that is ruined by trains. Approximately 100 trains per day pass through, whistling at four level crossings, day and night, 24/7. After writing to the Town Council to see if night whistling could be stopped, I was advised that a citizens group had embarked on a project to achieve that the previous year. Cobourg had achieved that already. However, long-time residents of Port Hope came out in force with signs demanding that we “Keep our Train Whistles”. They posted similar signs on their lawns. How can you deal with such stupidity?

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Jon, yes, the whistling issue is a contentious one indeed. What are some of the reasons why some of the people there are opposed to your efforts? Do those opposed live in close proximity to where the whistling occurs?

  28. For 6 years residents near the MacMillan Rail yard in Vaughan Ontario have been trying to get CN rail to reduce the level of disturbance they create. We learned in our struggle that CN still uses locomotives built in 1972 & this is part of the reason they are making so much noise. People need to understand the callous attitude employed by the leaders & regulators in this industry; they refuse to retire old, outdated, & worn-out locomotives imagine how poor of condition their oil cars are in. Furthermore the regulators have shown little to no concern for the interests of the residents. The OMB has quoted the superintendent at CN as expressing the opinion that the surrounding residents are irrelevant despite his obligations under the Canadian Transportation Act.

    I represent the Maple Sherwood Ratepayers association in a noise complaint we filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA). All our video & other evidence was tossed aside & the complaint was dismissed on a whim. Our only option now is to file an appeal with the Federal Court of Appeal. However our worry is that the courts will be as sympathetic towards CN Rail as the CTA has been & worst case scenario order costs to be paid by the residents to a billion dollar company.

    Anyone know a good lawyer that would like to help with the case?

  29. I represent the Maple Sherwood Ratepayers association in a noise complaint we filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency. All our video & other evidence was tossed aside & the complaint was dismissed. We are now filing an appeal with the Federal Court of Appeal. For 6 years residents near the MacMillan Rail yard in Vaughan have been trying to get CN rail to reduce the level of disturbance they create. We learned in our struggle that CN still uses locomotives built in 1972 & this is part of the reason they are making so much noise. People need to understand the callous attitude employed by the players in this industry; they refuse to retire old, outdated, & worn-out locomotives imagine how poor of condition their oil cars are in. Furthermore the regulators have shown little to no concern for the interests of the residents. The OMB has quoted the superintendent at CN as expressing the opinion that the surrounding residents are irrelevant despite his obligations under the Canadian Transportation Act.

    Just last night I made another recording at 3am of a locomotive idling at such high throttle that the disturbance was equivalent to a car horn being blown in our driveway for almost an hour straight. This is 2,000 meters from the source of the disturbance.


    • Jeff Willsie permalink

      Hi All
      Have all you read how important rail transport is to the economy of Canada.
      Take grain for example.
      The railways are moving it all out by order of the feds
      If you chose to move in beside the railway you chose to live with all those noisy trains. if you do not like it you should MOVE.
      This would be the best solution to your problem.
      The railways will operate 24/7

      Jeff Willsie
      Ontario Southland Railway

      • trainjane permalink

        Hello Mr. Willsie,

        Why does the railway need an official slap from Ottawa to get grain moving, but have no such problems if the commodity to be shipped is ever-increasing amounts of oil?

        Why the discrepancy?

      • Jeff Willsie likes repeating the same message. Funny he should add in grain at a time when Lisa Raitt has just decided to do a review of the transportation laws because the rail companies aren’t actually moving the grain.

    • Julie permalink

      Hi Ed, we are encountering the same issues with the CN yard in Vaughan. Does City Hall do nothing to protect the residents from this nonsense? It’s noise pollution from CN rail about 4 Kms from us, and the noise of Wonderland another 4 Kms.

      • Wonderland is another topic & believe me I have a history with them also; Marilyn Iafrate is responsible for complaints to Wonderland.

        City Hall does very little re CN, in fact they are, in a way to blame because they allowed builders to build so close. Having said this I have been deputized a couple of times to ask city council to call & write to CN, the CTA & to Lisa Raitt to express our concerns. We have asked City council to handle our CTA case appeal with the Federal Court (but this is unlikely to occur). I’m at the stage now where I have a lawyer who’s willing to do pro bono work on a case (he is a conservative MP candidate for Vaughan/King city) with the CTA, I have city council complaining to CN, I have Fantino’s office complaining to CN, I have the FCM calling CN. All these efforts have managed to keep CN quiet for now. The case with the CTA I think is the best way to get permanent change (i.e. rail lubricators & piston retarders installed) because they can order CN to make equipment & operational changes.

        If you want to contact me for help or to organize an effort let me know & we can find away to arrange it subject to trainjane’s approval.

        Eddy 7/7/2014

        • trainjane permalink

          Hello Ed,
          I completely agree with you that having local governments continue to approve residential housing projects in locations too close to railways despite available Best Practices is a serious problem.
          My opinion only, but I think that the problem would be soon rectified if local government was put on the hook to pay for mitigative measures arising from rail noise and vibration conflicts that originated with the city’s own poor planning decisions. The costs associated with this would serve as a deterrent to future ill-conceived notions to continue repeating this problem over and over again.

          Let us know how things progress with regards to your rail noise problem. How are things currently?

          • That’s not to say of course that the rail companies themselves are not responsible in this issue. Municipal governments, particularly Vaughan ON, typically cowtow to developers so this trend will never go away but your suggestion would mitigate the problem. Furthermore, to an extent we need rail & people to be close just not 20 feet away from each other.

            Currently CN has been quiet but I still have a goal of getting a CTA ruling. It would help if the CTA acted more as a regulator & less as a “quasi court”; quasi court basically means they are going to sit on their butts & make residents present them every detail & scrap of proof possible (including re-proving the laws of physics) before they’ll impose a ruling on a rail company.

            My efforts to date have been:
            -2 CTA formal complaints (both dismissed) over 6 years.
            -Lobbying every level of gov’t, municipal, provincial, federal (Lisa Raitt) & CN directly (I obtained the email address of every member of parliament & cc’d them all where appropriate).
            -Encouraging each level of gov’t to lobby Lisa Raitt & CN.
            -Encouraging every level of govt to support Bill C-393.
            -Emailing & calling Karen Phillips & the CN ombudsman on a weekly basis, pretty much every time I heard a train.

            The time CN was most quiet was when a CTA complaint was underway. When the 2nd complaint was dismissed they were very noisy until I started calling Karen Phillips. Suffice to say, Jeff Willsie’s comments notwithstanding, I haven’t heard CN for 2 weeks & they stiff manage to operate, & the economy hasn’t come to a halt.

            Eddy 7/8/2014

          • trainjane permalink

            Ed, we’ve heard other accounts of the railway operating in a quieter manner while the rail noise complaint process was underway. You are, by no means, the first, unfortunately.

            Have you seen this on the CN website regarding the MacMillan Yard?

            It’s on page 8 of “Leadership in Safety.”

            “Recognizing Excellence
            In 2013, CN launched an award program to recognize the top three Health and Safety Committees in
            the company for improving safety in the workplace. Congratulations to the following Committees for taking safety to the next level:

            Inter-functional Committee
            MacMillan Yard Inter-functional Committee
            Brampton Intermodal Terminal”

  30. Sadly, it takes something like Lac-Megantic for the Canada Ministry of Transportation to remove DOT-111 tanker cars,or oddly have them retrofitted within three years to avoid a similar disaster.As a lay person in this area of trains,I can’t see retrofitting improving safety for the communities these trains drive through.The quote reflects how much influence the railway has on the politicians, “regulators” who are supposed to protect Canadians from an antiquated industry that pollutes above acceptable levels in sound and air : ” a timeframe rail industry experts are calling “ambitious.”The removal of DOT-111 has likely been deferred by the rail industry themselves,and Lac-Megantic brought the issue to the forefront for action.The World Health Organization has said sleep disturbance will diminish at less than 35dBA .The Ontario Ministry of Environment sets 35dBA as the maximum rail noise for bedroom interiors between 23:00 – 7:00,but they don’t enforce this upon municiplalities. For my situation, we’re at 50dBA interior bedroom noise,wonder what you’re noise level is? Filing an appeal may be your best bet, imagine you asked for CN to do things like idle further away from homes,to repairing their tracks where “frogs” aren’t automated,hence make more noise than necessary,building barriers?There are reasonable things a railway company can do to mitigate.

    • We are in the process of asking the city to file the appeal on our behalf because the courts can ask for costs (something that doesn’t occur in a complaint to the CTA). We are worried the courts may take the same attitude as the CTA & consider us as a nuisance. Our video evidence was tossed aside so flippantly it’s hard not to get the impression that the CTA ruling was all about protecting CN & disparaging our evidence rather than discussing how said evidence might lend itself to showing CN is not meeting its obligations under sec 95 of the Act.

      Does anyone have any advise to offer regarding a Federal Court appeal for a similar matter?

  31. To be honest I think support for the rail industry is too strong or too ingrained into the psyche of Federal government to be battled successfully by individuals. Residents need to combine their efforts & ask for a Bill that addresses most issues together regardless of the type of disturbance or location of the disturbance. Regulators know what locomotives are capable of, I find it troubling that residents are expected to prove the laws of physics, the existence of a disturbance or why the disturbance is particularly egregious.

  32. I found a good website where a guy posted the email addresses for everyone on the Canadian parliament allowing you to cut & paste all the addresses into an email, enjoy.

    ‘’;’’; ‘John Corey’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ’’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’

  33. Carrie permalink

    I am emailing from KERWOOD ontario hopefully this is the right contact page for complaints. Our small community sits very close to the train tracks and if we knew the trains would be blasting their horns from 10pm-6am daily we would have never bought in this area. We have so many trains come through this small town the shaking, vibrating and blasting of horns- I mean like 2-4 min of it at 4 am is brutal. I have heard of a quiet zone during night time hours can something be done about the noise here PLEASE?

    • trainjane permalink

      Welcome to the club.

      You are now part of a rapidly-growing group of people across the country having exactly the same problem you are.

      Train whistles are a mandatory, enforced safety requirement at countless crossings from coast to coast. As night time activity of the rail industry continues to grow, the problem of how this industry’s safety requirement is affecting the health of Canadians is steadily compounding.

      There is a complex, costly mechanism in place to achieve whistle cessation at a crossing, but is requires the agreement of the rail company(s) involved, Transport Canada, and your city or municipality.

      Best of luck with it. Although we hope you look further into this, and wish you every success, we’re finding that the three parties all too often opt for the status quo as it’s the cheapest “fix” for them, in terms of cost and liability.

      Human health does not have to be considered in this equation, and that’s where the real problem is, and where a regulatory link must be made to make health concerns inclusive in this process.

      Make your elected officials aware of your concerns. Invite them out to witness the problem so they “get” it. Keep at it.

      You’re now part of the club.

  34. Jeff Willsie permalink

    Hi Train Jane
    Personally I do not think capacity is the problem. I think hopper car supply is the issue. Why would any railway keep 2000 or 3000 hopper cars around for a bumper crop every 10 or 20 years. The railway will have enough hoppers for an average year plus a few extra.
    Jeff Willsie

    • trainjane permalink

      Fair enough, but why did the railway industry not better utilize available rolling stock to provide additional service, in terms of frequency of service, to grain growers until the Feds stepped in and threatened fines?

      I have been observing since then, far more service being provided by rail to clear the backlog before this year’s harvest is ready.

  35. Jeff Willsie permalink

    Hi Train Jane
    I think service improved as the big railways offered big $ to old guys like me to go out west & run trains. Very cold temperature’s means shorter trains & this caused a shortage of crews.
    Grain company’s should build more storage for bumper crops as the railways cannot be expected to have thousands of hopper cars on hand or extra crews for a bumper crop every 10 or 15 years.
    Jeff Willsie

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Mr. Willsie, yes, I agree that rail service to grain customers has improved, but only after Ottawa intervened and had them pick up the pace. This shows that it was possible to provide more service in the first place.
      Why then was any of this necessary? Of course, if the grain growers continue to harvest increasing amounts of product, they will need to have the infrastructure in place to handle this, but so must rail.
      The point is, I believe this would be a non-issue if the commodity in question was crude oil. The massive growth of shipments of crude by rail are causing, in my opinion,(and in the opinion of many others as well) service to slip for less “favoured” customers.
      You don’t hear the oil companies complaining about rail service levels.

    • Is it me or do other people hear a lot of whining from representatives of the rail industry. So your job has challenges, so what? Everyone’s job has challenges, although you don’t see the majority of other industries still relying on 1970’s technology. Maybe having thousands of hopper cars on hand is why you get the big bucks! What makes these guys think the public should be sympathetic to a billion dollar oligopoly crying the blues, jeez!

      • BTW it should be noted that grain does have a limited shelf life. Maybe Jeff Willsie can survive on decomposing food but the rest of us do not have this ability. I’d say having enough food to sustain the population is more important than a rail employees need to believe he/she is the driving force of an economy!


        • trainjane permalink

          Food should be the priority for rail shipment as it a basic necessity of life. It’s disturbing that some of the grain from last year’s crop never even made it off the field while oil breezed through with no such hindrance, despite its ever-increasing quantity being transported.

          We are very fortunate here in Canada to have food in such abundance, but to waste it when there is so much need elsewhere is appalling.

      • trainjane permalink

        There are industries that completely rely on rail transportation who I believe are being shortchanged in rail’s pursuit of its favourite customer, the oil biz.

  36. Jeff Willsie permalink

    The railways are not going to invest in cars or infrastructure for a bumper crop every 10 to 15 years.
    This year does not look very good for crops due to the water issue.
    If the old guys had not gone west to run a few extra trains I doubt the picture would have changed much.
    You just do not like oil trains & as long as folks are opposing new pipe lines rail shall be the next best option. You also do not like trains operating next to your condo but the railways are not responsible for your foolish real estate purchases. The folks living in the backyard of the railways moved in of their own free will. The simple fix is to move. I seriously doubt the feds will ever stop freight trains from running at night as this would take over 33% of capacity away. Also I think location, location, location should be first in the mind of real estate purchasers.

    Jeff Willsie
    Ontario Southland Railway

    • trainjane permalink

      Your are correct in saying that I don’t like the idea of shipping crude by rail. The rail industry has done absolutely nothing to instill any sort of public confidence in this scheme. In the post Lac Megantic world, the response by big rail to public concerns has been abysmal.

      Instead of tackling the issue of crude and hazardous goods shipments in an upfront manner, the emphasis has been on protecting themselves from cumbersome regulations that really would go the mile in improving safety. This, combined with rail’s demand for secrecy about the nature of the goods being transported through countless cities and towns only underscores the growing public wariness of how big rail operates.

      I don’t live in a condo, and have never complained about a passing train.

      What is really foolish, Mr. Willsie, is rail’s failure to realize that it is no longer “business as usual.”

      The status quo is beginning to shift, albeit slowly, towards an atmosphere in which rail will continue to find itself under intense public scrutiny in the course of its operations until it fully recognizes its resident communities as legitimate stakeholders in the course of its operations, and treats them in a fair, open, and transparent manner with good will, in order to find viable solutions for co-existence.

      The only moving that is required, Mr. Willsie, is that of a shifting of attitudes.

      • Trainjane I’m not sure why you even allow Jeff Willsie to post on this blog. After-all he is obviously biased on the subject & incapable of having an objective opinion. I have gone back & forth with guys like this ad nauseam. They will never offer even minor considerations for those around them because it would slightly inconvenience them or increase costs. Change is needed at the legislated level.

        The Jeff Willsie’s & Ed Burkharts of the world are like blunt instruments. Its like asking a butcher to perform heart surgery with a sledgehammer. Peaceful coexistence is possible between rail operations & residents just not when the the Jeff Willsie’s & Ed Burkharts of the world are at the helm.

        Next time we make a CTA formal complaint we’ll be sure to provide Jeff’s posts as evidence of the poor attitude among rail employees.

        I recommend anyone bothered by rail noise phone & email guys like Jeff, head office executives, the CTA, Lisa Raitt, your MP, etc and make sure these people are bothered just as much as you are & as often.

        • trainjane permalink

          Ed, we do not agree with much of Jeff Willsie’s views as the head of Ontario Southland Railway but we think it’s important to show people reading this blog the scope of opinions as we feel it helps illustrate why there’s problems.

          We also wrote a blog post that refernced him several years back, “Leasing a Loophole,” if I recall correctly, so we felt it was the right thing to do to have him express his views, and let our readers decide.

          We welcome hearing from both representatives from the railways and the public, as long as comments are within our guidelines and relevant to the topics contained in this blog.

      • Trainjane I receive emails from the David Suzuki Foundation; their website has campaigns on occasion where they email all members/subscribers a message with a link allowing everyone to send a pre-prepared email to various government officials or other applicable individuals. I think it would be a great addition to your website. Residents need a unified voice.

        • trainjane permalink

          Thanks Ed. We’ll give this consideration.

  37. Kayla Steinman permalink

    I live in Cambridge Ontario. I have train tracks right across the street from my home. The vibrations are not the problem. The problem is the extremely loud screeching sound the train makes every time it passes. The train passes very often any time from morning to the middle of the night. Im really wondering why a train goes by this often in a residential area and if it is absolutly necessary, also what can be done about this if anything can be done.

    Very very annoying and wakes my family up in the middle of the night, as well as disturbs my phone calls.

    • Kayla Steinman permalink

      Just to note I am not suggesting the train here be moved or stopped just that it runs during business hours and maybe a treatment applied to the wheels or tracks so this extremely loud screeching noise doesnt happen.
      Is this possible? Judging by what I have read the concerns of the public are of no matter and no issues get resolved.

      • The screeching is likely from rolling stock retarders & can be prevented if they install piston retarders that do not operate on the premise of steal squeezing steel to slow the cars. Cost in one location might be apprx $31,000.

        The other source of squeal is from the train going around a corner & rail lubricators are used to prevent this. Cost is roughly $18,000 per application.

        I would recommend filing a CTA complaint. They will not let on what they know about train noise so as to force you to address the issue from scratch. It’s frustrating but at least if you know what your dealing with up front your better able to handle it.

        I also recommend you get other members of government involved.

    • trainjane permalink

      What steps have you taken to address this? Have you contacted the railway and asked them about it? If so, what has their response been? This is a recognized type of noise by the Canadian Transportation Agency, who oversees public complaints about railway noise and vibration.

      The first step is to communicate with the railway, regardless. Document when this occurs; keep a log of disruptions with as much detailed information as you are reasonably able to do in case you are unable to resolve this directly with the railway.

      What’s the track configuration like there? Is the problem taking place in a curved section of tracks?

  38. 8/12/2014
    Well its been about two months since I first contacted Karen Phillips executive officer at CN Rail in Washington DC by phone & email. Since then I have heard relatively little train noise; particularly I haven’t heard any squeal, but tonight for some reason CN decides to create a loud squeal from 6pm through 10pm steady. No human should have to endure this. These people disgust me.

    • trainjane permalink

      Ed, as you’ve had an improvement, we think it’s important to let them know of this incident and ask them for a response as to why the abrupt change. Did you communicate the previous improvement with them? We think it’s important for them to know both.

      • 8/15/2014

        Yes I did communicate the previous improvement to CN head office in Washington. I have been calling Karen Phillips & emailing. Email is easy to ignore but I imagine she was getting bothered by my phone messages. In any case I finally caught her at her desk & politely asked her to address the problem. She said she was in talks with the yard staff at the MacMillan yard & that she was particularly interested in understanding how they could be silent for 3 weeks at a time but not consistently on an ongoing basis.

        So far she seems to be acting in our interests which is more than can be said for the CN Ombudsman or the CTA.

        • trainjane permalink

          We’ve heard similar stories before. Periods of improvement, then relapsing back into old patterns again. One of the comments in particular that we’ve noted is a big improvement while studies were being made concerning rail noise and vibration complaints, with the problems returning after the studies are done.

          I personally feel that noise and vibration readings and measurements should be conducted without ever giving the rail company the “heads up” in order that data can be collected that accurately reflects the problem at hand, as long as these tests are not done on railway land.

  39. Kindael permalink

    My husband and I just moved to the west end of windsor from London Ontario. Since the day we moved here the trains have been running non stop 24/7 and the vibration is so unreal that is physically makes me sick and I’ve already had multiple seizures from the stress it’s putting me under. I’ve tried every possible thing I’ve read on here and to no avail.. We were told when we looked at this house that this was a really quiet friendly street when in fact it’s the complete opposite. We just bought this house and can’t afford to move so my only option seems like to completely just go crazy and deal with it for years…. I’m so fed up.

    • trainjane permalink

      We’re very sorry to hear of your situation.

      It highlights one of the problems we’re hearing about some (not all!) realtors who downplay problems such as yours, take the commission, and walk away.

      Yours is one of several recent complaints in this regard.

  40. Xuan Zheng permalink

    The MacMillan marshalling yard was such a pain in the arse for people here in Vaughan, I can hear their diesel engine full speed low rumble at where I live (Major mackenzie and pinevalley) during night and disturbs my sleep, at least what they can do is install a silencer at the exhaust (like car) that would dramatically reduce the noise level. Or retire those 70’s switchers which are known to be super noisy. Where do I file a complaint?

    • trainjane permalink

      If you are still having difficulty, please look through some of the older posts on this blog. Complaints are handled by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

  41. Xuan Zheng permalink

    ETA: today the wind blows from the east, and I can smell their diesel fume from MacMillan yard my house.

  42. Shirley Lagas permalink

    I have live in a small town in Wallis, Texas for 15 years. In the past the trains would do the speed limits, but in the last year they speed at 80 and 90 miles. When they do the low speeds my house does not shake at all. When they drive throu going 80 and 90 my house shakes like crazy. They are working on shacking my house right off the blocks. I just think this is so wrong and something should be done.

  43. Derek Smith permalink

    I live in toronto just south of steeles off Islington. Between me and the tracks which are probably 1-2 kms away and elevated, is all green space. We don’t hear it every night but last night the train horn went off every 1/2 hour or so from 2am and it was so loud (probably because no brush on the trees right now) my whole family had trouble sleeping. Is it required to sound the horn at a grade crossing when there is a gate with lights on it for vehicle’s and pedistrian’s? I see trains go by in the day and they don’t sound their horns then. There is currently a housing development being built just steps from the tracks…..good luck!

    • trainjane permalink

      If this problem in continuing, contact the city and ask if that specific crossing requires whistling or not. It sounds like that one may have an agreement in place to cease whistling as you have not been hearing it otherwise.

      I suspect there may have been something or someone near or on the tracks that concerned the train crew so they used the whistle, which they are allowed to do, whether or not whistle cessation is in place there, when there is a perceived threat to safety.

      An example of this would be someone walking their dog down the tracks, plugged in to a device, listening to music, oblivious to a freight train bearing down behind them.

      Hopefully this was an isolated incident for you.

  44. Krista permalink

    Just a question about horns. We just moved and there is a railroad very close to us, which is fine. However the use of the horn at all times of night is quiet disruptive to sleep. I was just wondering if there was a reason they must honk their horns at 1 am and 4 am and so on. I get during the day and early evening. But we don’t live in a busy area, it’s very rural.

    • trainjane permalink

      Hi Krista,

      Unfortunately, railways are required by law to blast the whistle four times as they cross all unprotected crossings in Canada, unless there are complex and very expensive anti-whistling provisions for one or more specific crossings. Your concern is an issue Canada-wide, with many people in the same position as no provisions or distinctions are made if it is 1:00pm or 1:00am.

  45. Patricia Arango permalink

    Lived in clark and henderson since two years ago and we didn’t have too much trouble with the train passing by close to our home. However, since the beginning of this week every time the train pass by is honking several times qnd at night is interrupting our sleep.
    Can you help us with this matter?
    Thank you

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Patricia,

      You are not alone in this problem, and it is a complex one. Trains are required by law to sound their whistle (horn) at all uncontrolled crossings unless there is a provision in place to cease whistling, and usually costly infrastructure to go with it. I believe some of our earlier posts discussed aspects of this problem. Train whistles disrupting sleep is a serious problem in Canada, and we feel it’s time to move to a less invasive warning system that keeps the rails safe, and lets people get their sleep.

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