CN and CP Railway Tell Edmonton to Mind Its Own Business
CN and CP politely told Edmonton city officials to mind their own business when city officials raised concerns last year about the inordinately long traffic waits at many railway crossings in Edmonton. City officials had asked if the two rail giants could modify their operations during rush hour to reduce long traffic waits. Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway officials said nothing could be done, and that their operations have no accountability to municipal governments (Edmonton Journal, CBC News).
The City has been receiving many complaints from irate motorists who repeatedly get stuck at railway crossings, especially during rush hour. Mayor Don Iveson recently said he personally receives complaints from drivers who face long waits at crossings in southeast Edmonton. “For a long time, the railways have been closer to God than anything else in Canada. The federal government has given them wide latitude,” he said. “That made sense in the 19th century and early 20th century, but with major rail operations in busy urban centres I think peaceful coexistence is worth pursuing…The railways enjoy a privileged position…We need to work with the MPs, the government of Canada. We need something consistent across Canada.”
See this link for more information on long waits at railway crossings across Canada and the United States. Railway companies do indeed enjoy a very privileged position where they can essentially delay hundreds of thousands of North Americans for long periods daily, thereby negatively affecting productivity and causing significant increases in vehicle exhaust pollution.