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
    Number of tracks at crossing: 1
    Crossing audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Re-evaluating design in conjunction with adjacent land development
    Construction status: TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 4

    This crossing will require major improvement work to create enough area for an automatic signal system to be installed in order to be eligible for whistle cessation.

    This crossing is now under review in conjunction with the development of the adjacent port property to determine and evaluate the feasibility of a signal installation based on the proposed road alignment.

    Information last updated: July, 2020

     

  • Primarily operated by: SRY
    Number of tracks at crossing: 1
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Re-evaluating preliminary design concepts
    Construction status: TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 4

    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.

    Safety issues were address with pavement marking and signage upgrades in late 2019.

    Information last updated: July, 2020

  • Primarily operated by: SRY
    Number of tracks at crossing: 1
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Re-evaluating preliminary design concepts
    Construction status: TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 4

    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: July, 2020

  • Primarily operated by: SRY
    Number of tracks at crossing: 1
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Re-evaluating preliminary design concepts
    Construction status: TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 4

    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 July, 2020

  • Primarily operated by: SRY
    Number of tracks at crossing: 1
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Yes
    Construction status: Complete
    Whistle cessation process: Step 6

    This crossing has been upgraded to comply with the required Whistle Cessation guidelines.

    The crossing is in the process of being reviewed for compliance by the Technical Safety BC (formerly known as the BC Safety Authority) for considerations.

    The City is aiming to achieve whistle cessation at this crossing in 2020.

    Information last updated: July, 2020

  • Primarily operated by: CN, CP & SRY
    Number of tracks at crossing: 2
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Yes
    Construction status: Complete
    Whistle cessation process: Step 8

    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 looking at the feasibility of carrying out the recommendations in the safety audits completed at this crossing.

    Information last updated: July, 2020

  • Primarily operated by: SRY
    Number of tracks at crossing: 1
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Yes
    Construction status: Complete
    Whistle Cessation Process: Step 6

    The last piece of work required in order for this crossing to be eligible for whistle cessation will be undertaken in August, 2020. Once the work has been completed by City contractors, the crossing will be re reviewed for compliance by the Technical Safety BC (formerly known as the BC Safety Authority) for considerations.

    The City is aiming to achieve whistle cessation at this crossing in 2020.

    The City along with the Railway authorities will be implementing additional required safety measures at this crossing to comply with the new 2021 Grade Crossing Regulations and Standards.

    Information last updated: July, 2020

  • Primarily operated by: CN, CP, BNSF, & SRY
    Number of tracks at crossing: 3
    Safety audit complete: Yes

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

    The City along with the Railway authorities will be implementing additional required safety measures at this crossing to comply with the new 2021 Grade Crossing Regulations and Standards..

    Information last updated: July, 2020

  • Primarily operated by: CN, CP, BNSF, & SRY
    Number of tracks at crossing: 3
    Safety audit complete: Yes

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

    The City along with the Railway authorities will be implementing additional required safety measures at this crossing to comply with the new 2021 Grade Crossing Regulations and Standards.

    Information last updated: July, 2020

  • Primarily operated by: CN, CP & BNSF
    Number of tracks at crossing: 2
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: Re-evaluating design
    Construction status: TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 4

    Comments:

    The Railway authorities have significant concerns with the crossing and public safety.

    Specifically, they have issues with the proximity of the rail crossing to the driveway access to the business adjacent to the crossing, greenspace and multi-use pathway adjacent to the crossing. The Brunette Fraser Greenway is expected to be built along the pump station property; therefore, there are concerns about vulnerable road users and trespass for the future.

    Large trucks have also been accessing the MV site and getting stuck on the tracks. In the past year this has occurred twice. We have placed no truck access signs but this has not deterred the behavior of truckers.

    The City has received a report from a consultant regarding the required measures to be undertaken at this crossing in order to be eligible for whistle cessation. If no significant concerns are raised from the railway authorities regarding these measures, we would look to start the recommended improvements at the end of 2020 (Q4).

    Due to the close proximity of this crossing to other rail crossings (Spruce Street Crossing & Braid Street Crossing), whistle cessation would need to be achieved at all multiple crossings collectively.

    The City along with the Railway authorities will be implementing additional required safety measures at this crossing to comply with the new 2021 Grade Crossing Regulations and Standards.

    Information last updated: July, 2020

  • Primarily operated by: CN, CP & BNSF
    Number of tracks at crossing: 3
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: No
    Construction status: TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 2

    The safety audit at this location identified a number of complex safety issues with respect to pedestrian trespass into the rail right-of-way from the Sapperton Skytrain Station.

    The City continues to work with Translink and the railway authorities to provide an elevator from the Skytrain station which will eliminate the trespass into the rail corridor.

    The City has received a report from a consultant regarding the required measures to be undertaken at this crossing in order to be eligible for whistle cessation. If no significant concerns are raised from the railway authorities regarding these measures, city staff will look at the feasibility of the required measures and schedule work accordingly. No confirm timeline on this work as the required measures are extensive.

    Due to the close proximity of this crossing to other rail crossings (Cumberland Crossing & Braid Street Crossing), whistle cessation would need to be achieved at all multiple crossings collectively.

    The City along with the Railway authorities will be implementing additional required safety measures at this crossing to comply with the new 2021 Grade Crossing Regulations and Standards.

    Information last updated: July, 2020

  • Primarily operated by: CP
    Number of tracks at crossing: 1
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: No
    Construction status: TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 2

    Comments:

    Due to traffic congestion, industrial area access, and close proximity to other rail tracks 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 in 2020.

    The City along with the Railway authorities will be implementing additional required safety measures at this crossing to comply with the new 2021 Grade Crossing Regulations and Standards.

    Information last updated: July, 2020

  • Primarily operated by: CN & BNSF
    Number of tracks at crossing: 4
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: No
    Construction status:  TBD
    Whistle cessation process: Step 2

    CN is expected to replace the rail crossing surface prior to the City completing the final phase of the Braid Street Greenway. This work is scheduled for August 2020.

    A number of complex safety issues were identified in the safety audit for this crossing as there are multiple tracks which involve shunting operations. The City has received a report from a consultant regarding the required measures to be undertaken at this crossing in order to be eligible for whistle cessation. If no significant concerns are raised from the railway authorities regarding these measures, city staff will look at the feasibility of the required measures and schedule work accordingly. No confirm timeline on this work as the required measures are extensive.

    Due to the close proximity of this crossing to other rail crossings (Cumberland Crossing & Spruce Street Crossing), whistle cessation would need to be achieved at all multiple crossings collectively.

    The City along with the Railway authorities will be implementing additional required safety measures at this crossing to comply with the new 2021 Grade Crossing Regulations and Standards.

    Information last updated: July, 2020

  • 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