Railway Noise and Vibration Negatively Affects Overall Quality of Life
As the shipment of dangerous goods by rail increases, especially crude oil and other petroleum products, residents who live near railways are becoming more concerned about their safety, health, property values and overall quality of life. For example, North Battleford City Council in Saskatchewan, is wrestling with complaints from west side residents regarding the increasing noise and movement of hazardous goods by Canadian National Railway “at all hours of the day and night” (News-Optimist).
One North Battleford resident wrote to City Council, “The piercing horns that blow at over 100 decibels can make you jump out of your skin. The banging and screeching are often so loud that conversations are halted as words are drowned out. People who live half a block from tracks have items rattling on shelves when the trains are shunting…I, along with any other residents of the west side, don’t get a lot of sleep some nights due to the clanging, banging cars, screeching metal, hissing airbrakes and rumbling engines…Buying a home on the west side has always made good financial sense. But that was before the exponential increase in train traffic. Is it fair that people who most likely have the majority of their personal wealth invested in their homes see this wealth eroded through no fault of their own?”
Most cities like North Battleford have noise bylaws that prohibit noises that interfere with the peace and comfort of the community. However, these bylaws do not apply to CN or other railways. Railroaded has received many complaints from residents across Canada similar to those expressed above. Railway noise, particularly train horns or whistles that are blown at road crossings, can often travel several miles, especially on otherwise quiet nights.
It’s high time the federal government, which legislates the manner in which railways operate, address the growing problem of railway noise and vibration, especially at night. The health, safety, property values and overall quality of life for hundreds of thousands of residents in Canada who live near railways are negatively affected by Canada’s antiquated railway legislation.
See this link for more information on the negative impacts of railway noise.