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

     

     

    Whistle Cessation will commence at this crossing effective December 18, 2020. The City and Railway will continue to monitor and maintain the conditions that support this initiative.

     

     

     

    Information last updated: December, 2020

  • Primarily operated by: CN, CP & SRY
    Number of tracks at crossing: 2
    Safety audit complete: Yes
    Design complete: N/A
    Construction status: N/A
    Whistle cessation process: Step 4

    In the past, a manually-operated gate was installed at the crossing, which enabled SRY and CP to cease whistling between the hours of 22:00 to 06:00 when the gate is closed.

    However, as this is still considered a ‘public crossing’ the railway companies have expressed their concerns, and the federally-regulated railways that use this crossing will only adhere to full-time cessation, which cannot be achieved with a manual gate, and the overnight partial whistle cessation does not apply.

    The City is working along with neighboring business (FRPD) to negotiate the ownership of this crossing from public to private. Achieving whistle cessation on a private crossing has less challenges, and does not require multi-million dollar upgrades.

    Information last updated: July, 2021

     

  • Primarily operated by: SRY
    Number of tracks at crossing: 1
    Safety audit complete: Yes

     

     

    Whistle Cessation will be commencing at this crossing effective December 18, 2020. The City and Railway will continue to monitor and maintain the conditions that support this initiative.

     

     

    Information last updated: December, 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

    The Railway authorities have reviewed the safety assessment that The City completed at this crossing in 2020 for further safety measurements, and have expressed their concerns about pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicular safety at this crossing.

    The City has taken the comments from the Railway authorities, and is working with an Engineering firm on developing detailed drawings at this crossing showing all the noted improvements needed to be eligible for whistle cessation. Once the drawings have been completed, The City will submit the drawings to the railway authority for their considerations prior to moving forward with implantation.

    The increased safety measurements include (but are not limited to) increase pavement markings, update signage, modify adjacent driveway access, modify existing pedestrian pathway, place additional rail signal equipment, etc.

    Information last updated: July, 2021

  • 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 4

    The Railway authorities have reviewed the safety assessment that The City completed at this crossing in 2020 for further safety measurements, and have expressed their concerns about pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicular safety at this crossing. Most specifically, they have expressed concerns about the Skytrain Station users accessing the station to and from Spruce Street, without a proper pedestrian facility in place.

    The City has taken the comments from the Railway company, and is working with an Engineering firm on developing detailed drawings at this crossing showing all the noted improvements needed to be eligible for whistle cessation. Once the drawings have been completed, The City will submit the drawings to the railway authority for their considerations prior to moving forward with implantation.

    The increased safety measurements include (but are not limited to) increase pavement markings, update signage, modify adjacent driveway access, modify existing pedestrian pathway, place additional rail signal equipment, etc.  With this crossing specifically, The City is working with Translink to implement an elevator leading from the Skytrain Station to Spruce Street. While this project is not happening immediately as feasibility studies need to be completed, we are pushing for whistle cessation with the railway authorities with the existing alignment, with increased safety measures.

    Information last updated: July, 2021

     

  • 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

    The City is in the process of completing the Multi-Use-Path connection link on Braid Street, that crosses this rail crossing. Significant upgrades are required at this crossing in-order to accommodate for the future MUP, and these upgrades will assist with this crossing being eligible for whistle cessation.

    Upgrades to this area include a new MUP connection, signage and pavement marking upgrades, placing additional rail signal equipment for pedestrians and cyclists, repaving the roadway, etc.

    The Railway authorities will complete a safety assessment at this crossing once the MUP work has been completed, and all the rail signal equipment has been upgraded.

    Information last updated: July, 2021

     

  • 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

    The City is in the process of completing the Multi-Use-Path connection link on Braid Street, that crosses this rail crossing. Significant upgrades are required at this crossing in-order to accommodate for the future MUP, and these upgrades will assist with this crossing being eligible for whistle cessation.

    Upgrades to this area include a new MUP connection, signage and pavement marking upgrades, placing additional rail signal equipment for pedestrians and cyclists, repaving the roadway, etc.

    The Railway authorities will complete a safety assessment at this crossing once the MUP work has been completed, and all the rail signal equipment has been upgraded.

    Information last updated: July, 2021

     

  • 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