Train Whistle Cessation

The City Of New Westminster is committed to achieving train whistle cessation city-wide. While this is an intricate and lengthy process involving multiple levels of government we have made significant progress towards attaining cessation at our two downtown crossings.

What is the City doing to reduce Train Whistling?

The City of New Westminster is continuously working alongside Provincial and Federal levels of government to make whistle cessation happen. As railways are federally regulated, the City cannot restrict or regulate train whistles. However, the Federal and Provincial Governments have established processes the City can pursue whereby rail companies are directed to cease blowing whistles at specified locations. The City of New Westminster is currently pursuing these measures and will keep residents and businesses informed as the process unfolds.

Whistle Cessation Process

Step 1: Interest for whistling cessation is expressed.

Step 2: Municipality consults with the railway company.

Step 3: Municipality issues notifications and public notice.

Step 4: Municipality and railway assess the crossing(s) against the prescribed requirements in the Grade Crossings Regulations and Standards.

Step 5: Municipality and railway agree that the crossing(s) meets the prescribed requirements of the Grade Crossings Regulations and Standards.

Step 5A (optional): Municipality and railway request a final decision from Transport Canada.

Step 6: Municipality passes a resolution declaring that it agrees that whistles should not be used in that area, thereby prohibiting train whistling.

Step 7: The railway company notifies Transport Canada and informs the municipality within 30 days that it has arranged to have whistling ceased at the crossing(s).

Step 8: Municipality and railway share the responsibility for monitoring and maintaining the conditions that support the cessation of train whistling at the crossing(s).

When will cessation be obtained at all crossings?

The City of New Westminster is committed to achieving cessation city-wide, but it will take a number of years and assistance from other levels of government in order for this to occur. As part of the process, the City has undertaken safety audits at all crossings; however, each crossing comes with its own set of challenges and safety requirements in order to obtain cessation. As a result, cessation will be obtained as the resources and upgrades to the crossings are undertaken.

Crossing Information and Current status

New Westminster has a total of 22 railway crossings in the city; 12 on the mainland and 10 in Queensborough. The City is currently focusing on 13 public crossings to obtain whistle cessation.

  • Primarily operated by: SRY
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Achieved preliminary design concept
    Construction status: TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 4

    Comments: This crossing will require major improvement work to change the existing road alignment in order to create enough area for an automatic signal system to be installed. The City is currently reviewing the costs to determine the feasibility of moving forward with the improvement work based on available funding in the City’s capital works program.

    Information last updated: June 5, 2019
  • Primarily operated by: SRY
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Achieved preliminary design concept.
    Construction status: TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 4

    Comments:This crossing faces several constraints due to the close proximity of multiple Metro Vancouver underground utilities and the rail line along Ewen Avenue. Major improvement work is required to re-align Ewen Avenue and possible upgrades of the Metro Vancouver utilities in order to create enough area for an automatic signal system to be installed. Such major improvement work will need to be in phases and implemented over multiple years.

     

    In the interim, safety issues are being addressed with pavement marking and signage upgrades, which are anticipated to be performed in summer 2019.

    Information last updated: June 5, 2019

  • Primarily operated by: SRY
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Achieved preliminary design concept.
    Construction status: anticipated for 2019
    Whistle cessation process: Step 4

    Comments: This crossing faces several constraints due to the close proximity of multiple Metro Vancouver underground utilities and the rail line along Ewen Avenue. Major improvement work is required to re-align Ewen Avenue and possible upgrades of the Metro Vancouver utilities in order to create enough area for an automatic signal system to be installed.  The crossing is being reviewed as part of the platform development occurring on Duncan Street. This may allow for the removal of some private driveways that cross Ewen Avenue as these driveway crossings are also an impediment to obtaining whistle cessation in the future. Such major improvement work will need to be in phases and implemented over multiple years.

    Information last updated: June 5, 2019

  • Primarily operated by: SRY
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Achieved preliminary design concept.
    Construction status: TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 4

    Comments: This crossing faces several constraints due to the close proximity of multiple Metro Vancouver underground utilities and the rail line along Ewen Avenue. Major improvement work is required to create enough area for an automatic signal system to be installed.  Due to the configuration of the intersection, the City is looking at an option to place the signal system over top of the Metro Vancouver water main. If this cannot be done, then it will be necessary to re-align roads in a manner similar to the work required at the other crossings along Ewen Avenue.

    Information last updated: June 5, 2019

  • Primarily operated by: SRY
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Yes
    Construction status: Complete
    Whistle cessation process: Step 8

    Comments: Pedestrian barriers have been installed but the crossing is still in the process of being reviewed for compliance with whistle cessation requirements. An operating notice to railways to cease whistling at the crossing was issued prematurely before all regulatory requirements were satisfied. Additional steps in the regulatory process need to be followed in terms of compliance of the crossing in order to ensure public safety.

    Information last updated: June 5, 2019
     

  • Primarily operated by: SRY
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Yes
    Construction status: Complete
    Whistle cessation process: Step 8

    Comments:

    A manually-operated gate has been installed at the crossing, which enables SRY to cease whistling between the hours of 22:00 to 06:00 when the gate is closed and locked and SRY’s train movement is on the CP Marpole Spur Line. However, the federally-regulated railways that cross 20th Street will only adhere to full-time cessation, which cannot be achieved with a manual gate, and the overnight partial whistle cessation does not apply on the rail line operated by CN at this crossing. The City is exploring the possibility of privatizing this crossing as railways are not required to whistle at private crossings.

    Information last updated: June 14, 2019

  • Primarily operated by: SRY
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Yes
    Construction status: Summer/ Fall 2018
    Whistle Cessation Process: Step 6

    Comments:

    The provincial railway safety regulatory commenced its review in late 2018 of the crossing for compliance with the regulatory requirements for achieving whistle cessation. Since then, the City has been coordinating with SRY on completing the work necessary for regulatory compliance.

    The City’s contractor has commenced work on the permanent civil works at the crossing. These works include fencing to replace the current temporary orange fencing along Quayside Drive west of the crossing. Outstanding work includes the trimming and removal of some trees and hedges necessary to provide the required sightlines at the crossing. Once all work has been completed, the provincial railway safety regulator will inspect the works for compliance with the regulations to determine eligibility for whistle cessation. Once compliant, they can then work with the railway to issue the order to implement cessation at the crossing.

    Information last updated: June 5, 2019

  • Primarily operated by: CN
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Yes
    Construction status: Complete
    Whistle cessation process: Step 8

    Comments: Whistle cessation has been achieved at this crossing. The City and railway will continue to monitor and maintain the conditions that support this initiative.

    Information last updated: June 5, 2019

  • Primarily operated by: CN
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Yes
    Construction status: Complete
    Whistle cessation process: Step 8

    Comments:

    Whistle cessation has been achieved at this crossing. The City and railways will continue to monitor and maintain the conditions that support this initiative.

    Upgrades to the crossing surface were undertaken in October 2018.

    Information last updated: June 5, 2019

  • Primarily operated by: CP
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Yes
    Construction status: TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 4

    Comments:

    Work at this crossing is not anticipated to occur until 2020 when Metro Vancouver’s Sapperton Pump Station Construction is anticipated to be complete. In addition, the City is currently awaiting comments from the Railways with respect to an amended safety audit to identify the required upgrades.

    CN Rail temporarily upgraded the crossing surface in November 2018. 

    Information last updated: June 5, 2019

  • Primarily operated by: CP
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: No
    Construction status: TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 2

    Comments: The safety audit at this location identified a number of complex safety issues with respect to pedestrian trespassing into the rail right-of-way from the Sapperton SkyTrain Station. The City is continuing to explore options to provide an elevator from the SkyTrain station which will eliminate trespassing into the rail corridor.  Land acquisition is required to facilitate this option, and as such, a date of cessation at this crossing is unavailable at this time. 

    Information last updated: June 5, 2019

  • Primarily operated by: CP
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Yes
    Construction status: TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 2

    Comments:

    Due to traffic congestion and access issues along the corridor, cessation will not be possible until these issues can be addressed.  Solutions to these issues are being looked at in conjunction with possible major highway improvements as part of the future Brunette Interchange. The schedule for the Brunette Interchange has not yet been determined.

    Upgrades to the crossing surface were undertaken in December 2018. The City is also working to complete the final phase of the Braid Street Greenway.

    Information last updated: June 5, 2019

  • Primarily operated by: CN
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: No
    Construction status:  TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 2

    Comments: A number of complex safety issues were identified in the safety audit for this crossing as there are multiple tracks which involve shunting operations. Similar to the CP crossing, high traffic volumes cause traffic to que across these tracks. Solutions to these issues are being looked at in conjunction with possible major highway improvements as part of the future Brunette Interchange.

    Information last updated: June 5, 2019

  • How do I get involved?
    The Railway Community Advisory Panel, comprised of members from the City, railway companies, and the community formally discuss issues such as whistle cessation. If you would like to attend a meeting or bring a delegation you can contact Legislative Services at 604.527.4523 or  

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  • For more information, please contact:
    Roger Emanuels
    Manager of Design & Construction
    604.527.4540