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Nova Scotia

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.

Blogs, Stories and Comments from Alberta Residents … and Posts Relating to Nova Scotia …

  1. Darthmouth:  See the post Communities in the News: Health and Environmental Concerns Raised.
  1. Agnes Malouf permalink

    Letter sent this morning, 8 September 2015, to the President and CEO of CN. It has been exactly 9 months since we began the process to eliminate the train whistle in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. We thought the battle was won when the Halifax Municipality passed a whistle cessation by-law on August 4th, 2015. And yet the whistle persists.

    Dear M. Mongeau:

    Nine months ago, we wrote to you because we were looking for someone who could help us eliminate the train whistle at Mile 12.99, in Downtown Dartmouth, NS.

    Over the past nine months we have met and spoken with Government officials and the CN executives you recommended. We have worked within the prescribed rules to eliminate a whistle that is keeping working taxpayers from getting a good night’s sleep, night after night.

    In January, a Safety Study was mandated by CN. After its requirements were fully addressed by the King’s Wharf Developer and HRM staff, CN decided that additional lights were needed at Mile 12.99 – despite the fact that the crossing was already more than adequately protected. Residents endured more sleepless nights while these lights were sourced, paid for and installed.

    Finally, with all the Safety Study’s requirements met, Halifax City Council unanimously passed the by-law for whistle cessation at Mile 12.99. As Councillor McCluskey said at the time, “This is a happy day for Dartmouth residents.” That was on August 4th.

    More than a month later, the whistle persists.

    Now we are told there is a ‘possible safety issue’ concerning the children’s playground further along the track. Obviously this playground has nothing to do with the crossing at Mile 12.99. Any issues at the playground should not delay the cessation of the whistles at Mile 12.99.

    The supposed safety issue at the children’s playground is not new. In fact, the ‘problem’ pre-dates the construction of the King Street grade-crossing, three years ago. We have to wonder why this issue has surfaced now, at this late date.

    CN’s unwillingness to instruct their drivers to cease whistling at Mile 12.99, because there is a ‘possible safety issue’ many meters away, can only be seen as the result of CN’s incompetence or malice.

    Let us know if there is another reason.

    Please ask your engineers to stop making us sick. Everybody deserves a good night’s sleep.


    Kit Hood and Agnes Malouf
    Downtown Dartmouth Train Whistle Action Group

    • trainjane permalink

      My apologies in the very long delay in getting back to you. Is there an update on this situation? Dartmouth is close to my heart, I have family there.

  2. Agnes Malouf permalink

    As you can see from the article in the above link, it took 10 full months after Halifax Municipal Council unanimously passed a whistle cessation by-law, to finally succeed in getting the whistle stopped. We had to listen to the 4-part whistle many times, every day and night, till the end of May 2016, although the by-law had been passed in early August 2015.

    After the by-law was passed, CN came up with yet more reasons to delay the by-law going into effect. The Safety Study, conducted in February 2015 with its dozen or so recommendations, said nothing about a fence having to be put up between King’s Wharf and the ferry terminal. And yet, after the by-law was passed, it was arbitrarily determined that a $50,000 fence was necessary in order for CN to stop the whistle.

    Ridiculous, when you see there is no fence where there is high pedestrian traffic crossing the railway tracks at the entrance to the ferry terminal.

    The whole process was so frustrating, because of the intransigence of CN Railway officials and their adherence to outdated regulations.

    Now we must live with an ugly fence that spoils our walk along the shore and blocks a beautiful view of Halifax harbour. Yes, the whistle has stopped but the fence is a constant reminder of the price we had to pay to get it stopped.

    You can understand why it is difficult to see this as a victory.

    • trainjane permalink

      That is most frustrating, especially in a lovely area like yours.

      Has the whistling since been curtailed?

      We’ve yet to hear a single, straight-forward example of whistle cessation from anywhere in the country yet.

      The only exception we can think of is when a city or municipality agrees to shut down a public crossing, giving the railway the advantage of a through route, even more convenient with longer trains. In one example we know of, in the Lonsdale area of North Vancouver, B.C., several roads were closed, we believe overpasses were built, and whistling stopped.

      That is the perfect solution…for the railways.

  3. Agnes Malouf permalink

    In parts of Australia, this is the solution. Get rid of all crossings by building underground tunnels or overhead passes. No more railroad crossings.

    • trainjane permalink

      It also resolves many safety concerns as well as noise and vibration conflicts. The obstacle here, of course, is the expense.

      Until human health concerns are a higher priority, upgrades such as the one you referenced are going to meet with considerable resistance.

      It would be interesting if there were any studies comparing long-term outcomes for both systems, as in the long term, there are definite benefits for rail in this.

      I gave this some thought a couple of years ago during a trip across Europe, and through the “Chunnel” in particular.

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