East Vancouver residents fed up with blaring trains passing nightly
Published Thursday, May 3, 2018 3:50PM PDT
Residents of East Vancouver are speaking out about a jarring increase in the number of loud trains passing through their neighbourhood at all hours of the day and night.
Since last year, Strathcona residents living in the area of Glen Drive have increasingly found themselves trapped in their cars waiting for trains to pass, or being jolted awake in bed by blaring bells and other startling noises.
"It sounds like explosions," said Su-Laine Brodsky. "It sounds like trains crashing into each other."
After using the waterfront rails for nearly a decade, the Canadian National Railway has lately been sending trains down a different line that runs right through their neighbourhood, just a stone's throw from dozens of homes.
At one point just south of Hastings Street, trains on the line pass "within five feet of a toddler's bedroom" in a 115-year-old home, according to the Strathcona Residents' Association.
Before the sudden influx of trains, the line was only used a couple times a week. Now CN trains scream by multiple times daily, according to the association's Dan Jackson.
"It was nothing. Nobody worried about it," he said. "Basically overnight it went from being two small trains a week to six huge trains a day."
They're also worried things could get worse. Jackson said CN's trains are going back-and-forth to the Centerm Port, which has just been approved for a major expansion.
The City of Vancouver has acknowledged there's a problem, and hosted a meeting with frustrated residents Wednesday night. Staff are also in talks with the railway, and promise a solution is coming – though there is no timeline for when that could happen.
"We have plans over the long-term to look at a grade separation, so we'd have an overpass so the roadway and the railway don't have an at-grade crossing," said Jerry Dobrovolny, general manager of engineering services for Vancouver.
According to the city, CN was invited to Wednesday's meeting but didn't attend.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Breanna Karstens-Smith