Last night I was woken up by the high-pitched sound of the train whistle at 2 a.m. This isn’t the first time this has happened. I live right beside the train tracks, and although living at such close proximity to an extremely loud vehicle carrying thousands of tonnes of coal on a daily basis was my decision, I still get annoyed from time to time.
I understand that the train whistle is necessary, being that there aren’t gate arms at several major train crossings, but I still feel that some conductors are not respectful. For example, there is an open field and several commercial buildings right next to my apartment, but rather than waiting a few seconds to pass the building where hundreds of people are attempting to sleep through the night, the train lets loose right next to us.
When I’m walking in clear view of the train the train conductors, for the most part, don’t blow the whistle until they’re a couple of meters ahead of me. In fact, sometimes the train conductor will wave to me as I walk my dog. Then there are the conductors that blow the whistle when they’re right on your back, almost like a passenger or driver cat calling you while you’re trying to walk down the street. This not only scares me to death, it also makes me extremely frustrated. I’ve gotten used to falling asleep with the train rattling past my apartment at night and hearing the horn in the distance, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the infuriating sound of a train horn right on my back, nor should I have to.
I understand that I made the decision to live right next to highly active train tracks, but I feel like there should be better guidelines to help prevent some of these disturbances.
The ultimate goal, of course, would be to have gate arms installed, especially near highly populated residential areas, like the 13th Street crossing. I realize that, although the City of Fernie supports the installation of gate arms at this crossing, it is not necessarily feasible due to Canadian Pacific (CP) guidelines. I still, however, feel that something needs to be done, something that will continue to enforce the same standard of safety that is currently being enforced, while at the same time not compromising the quality of living for nearby residents. I don’t necessarily have a solution, but I feel like there is a solution within reach.