In the past six months, KTW has heard from residents with concerns about rail traffic.
In December, Diane Czyzewski pleaded for help from city council on the issue of lengthy CN trains spanning two rail crossings in Rayleigh.
City staff told Czyzewski the rail companies are complying with regulations, despite the train lengths. The rules stipulate rail crossings cannot be blocked for more than five minutes unless the railway equipment is continually moving.
Czyzewski argued Transport Canada should update its regulations and called for an overpass or underpass to be built.
Recently, just down the tracks in Rayleigh, farmers, residents and business owners have also grown frustrated. They said longer trains are leading to wait times for Nu Leaf Produce Market vans, which routinely get stuck on one side, waiting to access Dhaliwal Green Acres Farm.
Last week, Top 40 Woodworks controller Rob Brown brought to KTW’s attention the issue of drivers of vehicles backing up down the Trans Canada Highway while waiting for trains to cross at Kelly Douglas Road.
He noted his company alone on that side of the tracks has 70 employees who travel to work in the morning. That creates a traffic backlog past the off-ramp down the highway.
“Somebody needs to do something before someone gets killed,” Brown said.
KTW asked readers for additional concerns related to railways in the city, some of which included:
• One person said a train is often stopped at Singh Road in Brocklehurst and they have waited about 20 minutes before turning around to find a detour. Another person noted something similar at Mission Flats, resulting in employees being late for work.
• Residents in the east end of the city have noticed a flaw in the way CP and highway signals interact. At Vicars, River and Tanager roads in Valleyview, the highway signals go through a cycle in which they shut down traffic to clear the intersection as a train approaches. One resident suggested sensors to stop traffic based on demand, not automatically, in order to maintain traffic flow.
• Another resident noted the impact of open, uncovered coal railcars on breathing and the fine layer of black coal dust that covers their home’s interior.
“I can only imagine what we are breathing in,” the resident said. “Why aren’t the coal cars covered?”
• At Vicars Road in Valleyview, one resident said the intersection is complex due to the frontage road meeting the highway and railroad crossing.
While vehicles at the front of the line may be waiting to go straight across the train tracks, others behind looking to turn left off Vicars Road onto the highway via a temporary green arrow drive around the backed-up vehicles.
“A bad setup all around,” the resident said.
• Speed appears to be at issue for residents on Ord Road in Brocklehurst.
A mobile home park resident takes issue with the vibrating caused from trains travelling at high speeds, “like an earthquake tremor,” which apparently occurs between 20 to 25 times daily.
Noise is also apparently a factor in that area, with empty cars creating a loud crashing sound that was described to be “worse than thunder.”
• Cut off at times for 20 minutes or longer, Rayleigh residents reported issues during an emergency situation, in which paramedics were held up by a train blocking the tracks.
“Please don’t wait until tragedy strikes to provide this essential access,” a resident said.
• A Lorne Street resident moved to Kamloops from Vancouver last September and noticed the first few months were quiet, with only occasional train noises.
However, once the windows open in the spring, the noise can be so bad between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. that it is impossible to sleep.
“The trains typically come in screeching for a very long time and then the shunting happens,” the resident said. “I knew that I would have some train noise when I purchased my condo, but I was not prepared for this. I can’t believe that all of that noise has to be done at night.”