WPRRA President, Arnie van Hattem, has been in contact with Gord Westlake in regards to the ongoing train whistles below the ridge. Below is the latest update as to when work will be completed and the next steps to hopefully quiet the trains......
On Jul 9, 2015, at 12:38 PM, Gord Westlake
I just got off the phone with Peter Bohmert, who I have had chasing down the signals work at 127A. Peter advises that the BNSF signals crews and BCR contractor (PNR) signals crews are now both scheduled to be on-site with Peter on July 20th to complete and commission the new signals at 127A. I will have Peter follow-up with Bill Williams next week to liaise with the BCSA, to expedite approvals as much as possible after the 20th.
From: Gord Westlake
Sent: Thursday, July 09, 2015 10:14
To: 'Arnie van Hattem'; 'Zondervan Ken'
Subject: RE: Whistle Cessation
There are a number of points in your two emails below that require clarification for the Ratepayers group that you now represent.
127A is not the only crossing below the Ridge that currently requires trains to whistle. East-west trains are currently required to whistle on the BCR line at 127A and at Golf Course Rd (under the KGH). As well, all north-south BNSF trains are also required to whistle at 127A. No whistle improvement has been observed as yet, as no whistle cessation has yet been implemented under the RBRC program.
The Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) require that every train whistles continuously for ¼ mile in advance of a road crossing and until the crossing is fully occupied by the train, which necessitates about 20 to 30 seconds of continuous whistling in advance of each crossing. With two crossings requiring whistling only a couple of miles apart, as is the case with 127A and Golf Course Rd immediately below the Ridge, trains are currently obligated to whistle for about one minute of the 3 or 4 minutes that it would normally take for the locomotive to traverse that section of track, which is why it appears that trains are whistling much of the time they are running along Colebrook Rd, between KGH and 127A. That is in fact the current CROR requirement.
The Whistle Cessation Project of the RBRC is intended to provide for whistle cessation at 127A, Golf Course Rd, 160th, 164th and 168th. All of the road crossing and signals improvements were completed under the RBRC project during Q1 2015 with the exception of 127A, which was delayed waiting for BNSF to complete the signals upgrades on their line at 127A. Because of proximity, safety regulations require that the signal circuitry must be integrated between BCR and BNSF at 127A, so BCR could not and still cannot complete the works at 127A until BNSF attend to their work. I can assure you that over the past few months, Ken and I have made repeated efforts to prompt BNSF to expedite completion of their work at 127A.
Immediately upon completion of the signals upgrade at 127A, BCR will then be in a position to work with the City of Surrey to conclude the steps necessary to formally implement whistle cessation at the 5 locations noted above. That will require:
All 5 upgraded crossings to be inspected by the BC Safety Authority to obtain written approval from the BCSA that all 5 locations meet the safety conditions to allow Whistle Cessation.
Once we have that, the Whistle Cessation Agreement between BCR and the City of Surrey can be executed and the special Whistle Cessation liability insurance policy can be placed with BCR’s insurers.
After we have the BCSA approval, the BCR-Surrey Agreement executed and the insurance placed, then BCR can issue the BCR Special Instructions to implement the Whistle Cessation at the 5 designated locations.
Please understand that “whistle cessation” does not result in a prohibition of train whistling. Once implemented, whistle cessation will remove the obligation of the train to whistle for ¼ mile in advance of the designated road crossings. However, the train is still obligated to whistle an “alarm for persons or animals on or near the track” or where “view is restricted by weather, curvature or other conditions”. No train can be absolutely prohibited from whistling and the locomotive engineer is ultimately responsible to decide if conditions warrant the sounding of the whistle.
Also, please note that the whistle cessation is only applicable to those 5 BCR crossings within the City of Surrey that are being upgraded under the RBRC program. There are other railway at-grade crossings in Delta and two BNSF at-grade crossings near Crescent Beach, that are all within 3 to 4 miles of the Ridge and may be acoustically perceptible across Boundary Bay. There are also 10 or more at-grade crossings on the SRY line within a few miles to the northeast of the Ridge, that may or may not be heard depending on weather conditions.