Rail Yard Construction Photos

Click on each photo to get a closer look.

(Photos appear more or less in chronological order, starting with the oldest photos first and ending with the most recent photos.)

Tree felling started on June 21, 2010, only 40 days after adjacent landowners found out about the Cando rail yard project by accident. No legislatively-sanctioned environmental or socio-economic impact assessments were conducted before construction started, even though two protected conservation areas are located less than 30m, and two homes are located less than 165m, from the rail yard site:

After all of the trees were mowed down, the topsoil was bulldozed into rows. No archaeological or historical assessments were conducted before this work started which is unfortunate considering the rich history of this site that included the Bretona Railway Station, the P & H Grain Elevator, and the eastern end of the Papaschase First Nation Reserve:

Note the farmland in the foreground and the western end of the Bretona Pond Buck-for-Wildlife Area just behind the row of topsoil where the small group of trees sits on top of the little knoll:

At first there were just a few machines working on the site:

As soon as trucks began hauling soil and clay away, the heavy weight started damaging our little country road which has only a corduroy base:

Then the ruts in the road got deeper. Note the Bretona ConservAction Area in the background:

More equipment was brought on site, and the noise is constant, starting as early as 06:45 a.m. and as late as 8:15 p.m. Even with our windows closed tightly, we can still hear the noise. Note the sharp bend in the mainline track in the centre right of the photo, where a switch is planned to join a new siding with the mainline. Clear sight line visibility will be compromised at this switch which will pose a hazard to railway personnel:

When it rains, there is a bit of a break from the daily construction noise because it is too wet for the sub-contractor (Kichton Contracting) to work:

When it rains, it’s easy to see water draining south through the road culvert (at the very bottom of the photo) and into my neighbour’s property. This is a major concern considering there will be 225 petroleum tank cars stored at the rail yard which will be dripping oil, grease and solvents, and possibly leaking petroleum from the tanks:

And, on the other side of the road, water from the rail yard site is running out of the culvert into my neighbour’s farm dugout, into the Bretona ConservAction Area, from there into the Bretona Pond Buck-for-Wildlife Area, and from there into Mill Creek which drains into the North Saskatchewan River. Dripping and leaking oil, grease and solvents that are carried by rain and spring run-off from the rail yard can pose a major hazard to livestock on my neighbour’s farm, and to wildlife and vegetation on the two protected conservation areas. If a major spill from the tank cars occurs, it would be devastating to the local and downstream livestock, wildlife, natural environment, and two greenhouses/nurseries:

Trucks hauling fill material rumble by our driveway throughout the day. Sometimes a dozen different trucks rumble by in a procession up to one truck per minute:

More equipment was brought onto the site, increasing the noise level even more. Both the federal government and Strathcona County refuse to enforce noise legislation and bylaws:

As evident from this photo, a lot of trees were felled and bulldozed to make way for this massive rail yard. Click on the photo to get a closer look at the piles of dead trees:

Trucks continue to haul material to and from the site:

Often, trucks wake us up early in the morning. Construction also takes place on Saturdays and Sundays, and we couldn’t even enjoy a construction-free Canada Day or Thanksgiving Long Weekend:

Our narrow country road is deteriorating by the day, getting pounded out of shape by the continuous stream of trucks:

Whenever it rains, our country road turns into a mud bath due to all of the dump trucks traveling on it. It’s hard to believe that this road was smooth black-topped until the rail yard construction started destroying it.  Note the sub-contractor vehicles parked on the road:

Whenever it is hot and dry, the roads leading up to the rail yard are so dusty it’s dangerous to drive due to limited visibility. This is Range Road 233 which was also smooth black-topped before the dump trucks destroyed the road. Can you see the Cando sub-contractor dump truck up ahead? No…well neither can anyone, including school buses, driving behind this truck:

Can you see the dump truck now? Good luck. This amount of dust poses a major driving hazard:

Construction continues as this lowland gets built up with more and more fill material. This photo is taken from the Bretona Pond Buck-for-Wildlife Area, one of the two protected conservation areas next to the rail yard. In addition to the two landowners whose properties abut the railway right-of-way here, many other residents will be affected by the rail yard noise, pollution and unsightly parked petroleum cars. Note the two other farms a short distance in the background:

Construction at the north end of the rail yard near a major bend in the mainline track where a switch will join a siding with the mainline. Clear sight line visibility will be compromised at this switch site due to the bend in the mainline, and will pose a hazard to railway personnel. Rail yards are particularly prone to accidents such as the derailment of 43 CN tank cars at the Scotford Rail Yard on August 18, 2010. Check out the “Latest News” link for more examples of CN rail yard accidents, and check out the photos of the August 18, 2010 CN derailment:

Up to 250 truckloads of fill and aggregate per day roar by our driveway on the way to the construction site right next to us. This photo is taken from our driveway:

More dust:

The truck and construction equipment traffic has been so heavy over the past 3 months that our little country road has been destroyed. Our smooth black-topped road is only a memory. Note the Bretona ConservAction Area on the left side of the road and the Bretona Pond Buck-for-Wildlife Area on the right side of the road, both protected wildlife conservation areas:

As evident in this photo, our road is wide enough for only one of these huge trucks. Therefore, the Road Use Agreement held by the contractors stipulates that this truck traffic must travel only in one direction at the same time. However, on many occasions  we have observed these trucks traveling in opposite directions at the same time which creates not only a safety hazard as they pass each other, but also completely ruins the road edges and ditches, considering the heavy loads:

Truck congestion in front of our house:

More road damage from all the trucks:

And…….the damage continues:

Cando and CN are building this rail yard very close to Township Road 515 and the railway crossing. This will pose a safety hazard for vehicles crossing the tracks and for CN trains traveling along the mainline. Note how close the adjacent farm is to where the rail yard is being constructed. Also note the two Cando contractors not wearing hard hats on the construction site:

When aggregate is loaded into this bucket and when it’s spread on the newly laid track, it’s very noisy:

This Fairmont Tamper is also particularly noisy. All of this noise, including the constant front-end loader back-up beeps, can be heard up to 2km from the construction site. Note another farm close by in the background:

Workers on the construction site are often seen without hard hats, which violates occupational health and safety requirements:

The first of 10 tracks are laid, each about 1km long, to store 225 of Imperial Oil’s petroleum tank cars:

Thousands of railway ties have been brought on site for all the storage tracks to be built in this massive industrial rail yard:

Railway tie car blocking Township Road 515:

This photo shows just how close the south switch with the mainline is to the road. This photo was taken from Township Road 515. This will pose a safety hazard to motorists, including the school buses that regularly travel this road, and to CN Railway personnel traveling on the mainline:

Another photo showing how close the south switch with the mainline is to the public road. Photo taken from Township Road 515:

These front-end loader back-up beeps blare so loudly all day long to the point where they give us headaches:

Sometimes there are so many trucks and so much equipment on site that there’s barely enough room for vehicles to turn around. Click on this photo to see another Cando contractor violating health and safety regulations by not wearing a hard hat on a construction site:

Even though the rail yard construction is not yet completed at this point, CN is already storing dozens of pieces of railway maintenance equipment on the new siding. This photo was taken from the Bretona Pond Buck-for-Wildlife Area:

CN’s stored railway maintenance cars stretch as far north as the eye can see:

and…….south almost right to Township Road 515:

All of this CN Railway equipment stored near our home is very noisy. CN often works and moves this equipment throughout the night, which makes it next to impossible to sleep:

This photo of CN equipment stored on the new siding was taken from our acreage, the western boundary of which is only about 30m from the rail yard. Our home is only 163m from the rail yard, which is why the construction noise has been so disrupting day in and day out since June 21, 2010. We see the rail yard every time we look out our kitchen window:

A driving hazard was created when all of these CN and Cando vehicles parked on the road right next to the railway crossing:

Vehicles almost blocked the road to the point where the school buses couldn’t get by:

How is anyone going to get by here?:

Some of the garbage thrown by CN work crews into the ditch by our house:

The dust from the truck hauling never seemed to end. The County of Strathcona was supposed to ensure that construction traffic did not cause too much dust after these trucks destroyed the smooth black top, but they seldom did:

Rough road…….no kidding:

Huge chunks of asphalt are left piled right next to the railway crossing, posing a safety hazard:

Rail yard construction is almost complete at this point:

10 storage tracks will store 225 petroleum tank cars owned by Imperial Oil. Imperial Oil is the second largest investor in Syncrude where at least 2,000 ducks have been killed landing on toxic tailings ponds:

The rail yard almost touches the neighbouring farmer’s property line. You can see the fence posts in this photo:

Cando has already started storing junk at the rail yard, as evident in this photo. Other rail yards across North America have attracted significant garbage dumping (see “Latest News” link):

Bretona Pond is visible just behind the rail yard. Local residents are concerned about normal spring and rain run-off from the rail yard and possible spills contaminating this pond, Mill Creek and the North Saskatchewan River. At this particular location, the rail yard is bordered by farmland to the west and by the Bretona Pond Buck-for-Wildlife Area to the east:

This photo shows how close the south end of the rail yard is to a public road and railway crossing. When tank cars are backed right up to the end, they will affect the clear sight line visibility for motorists entering the railway crossing from the west, thereby posing a safety hazard:

Cando Contracting covered up a culvert that ran under Township Road 515. There used to be a culvert opening where all of the large light-coloured aggregate has now been piled in this photo. This is just one of the many drainage and environmental guidelines, bylaws, and legislation breached by Cando, CN and Imperial Oil:

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