Fort St. John councillors will debate next week whether to ask CN Rail to stop trains from whistling through railway crossings within the city.
There are nine crossings within or next to city limits, and residents regularly complain about the whistling as trains pass through the northeast part of the city, infrastructure manager Victor Shopland notes in a July 27 report to council.
"Trains are required by federal legislation to blow their whistles at railway crossings on a railway corridor," Shopland writes. "There are requirements to install warning systems at public grade crossings within an area that does not have whistle blowing."
At minimum, that would require crossings be upgraded to include flashing lights and a bell to sound for the length of the train passing the crossing, and in some cases a gate, depending on train speed.
“The bell - to be effective as a warning device - may not be as loud as the train whistle,” Shopland writes.
A decision to file an application with CN Rail to stop train whistling would require engineering assessments of the crossings, and the city and province would be responsible to pay for their upgrades.
Of the crossings, five of them are along Northern Lights Drive between 100 Street and 86 Street.
The city is responsible for crossings at 100 Street at 96 Street, and splits responsibility with the Ministry of Transportation for the crossing at 93 Street. The ministry is responsible for the crossings at 91 and 86 streets.
“The cost to upgrade these crossings is not known at this time,” Shopland writes.
“There is also the possibility, through consultation with Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and residents, for the closure of the 93 Street crossing. This would eliminate the requirement for further cost outlay for signalization for this shared crossing and any need for whistle blowing for this crossing, if it is removed.”
The city also has jurisdiction for rail crossings on 72 Street and Swanson Lumber Road, while the province is responsible for crossings on the West Bypass and Airport roads.
Shopland notes there would still be some crossings adjacent to homes on the north side of the city that would require a train to blow its whistle.
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