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Readers respond: Split decision on New Westminster train noise

Are train whistles disruptive to residents in Sapperton and elsewhere in New West? Or are they a fact of life that people need to stop complaining about?
A train approaches the Cumberland Street crossing in Sapperton. New Westminster Record readers are divided on the issue of train noise in the city.

We asked you, our New West readers: Are you bothered by train noise?

In a recent, non-scientific survey on our site, some 59 per cent of you said "no."

The result raised the eyebrows — and the ire — of one letter writer, who said train noise is "disheartening" and suggested people shouldn't have opinions about train noise unless they live near the tracks.  So we asked folks how they felt about that.

Here's a sample of the responses we've received so far:


I agree with Kathleen Lawrence. If you don’t like train noises, why live near tracks?

I’ve lived at New West Quay for 38 years. I love the fact that we can see planes going to YVR, seaplanes, tug and other boats, trains and SkyTrain. I love hearing the trains “talking” at night. All the faraway places they’ve been. I find them very comforting.

Nancy Noonan


The train whistles through the evening, as one resident already noted, are inconsistent. It seems like whenever the inspectors do a review, the whistles are louder and longer. As time goes by, they get quieter and shorter.

The reason for the whistles is uncontrolled railway crossings. The railway should be required to put crossing gates at areas in residential areas.

Queensborough Landing has crossing gates, and no whistles are required. Why is it that where the train is travelling at a very slow speed through a parking lot, crossing gates are installed, but not on Ewen Avenue where they travel quicker and use the whistle however the engineers see fit?

Reo Elkin


I’ve lived near Richmond and Columbia for 18 years and don’t mind the noise from the trains. I understand the train whistle for a crossing is two medium-length whistles, one short, then one long. Why is it that some trains do this quite quickly,  while other trains extend these four whistles all the way along Columbia to Braid — giving Royal Columbian Hospital extra-long noise. And some trains cruise by without whistling at all. Shouldn’t it be consistent?

Barb Lindsey


We live at Hamilton and Eighth Street. I am often up in the night. At all hours I can hear the train whistles/horns at this location, not far from the Burnaby border at 10th Avenue This is a long, narrow city — I presume that the noise can be heard in all homes.

For those who live near the Queensborough and Sapperton crossings, this must be disruptive, to say the least.

Franci Louann


I live at the Brow of the Hill, three houses east of Eighth Street. I hear the trains daily, l don’t mind the noise. It was way worse when they were shuttling engines all night. Used to hear big noises joining trains together. None of that now.

I heard the trains when l lived 10 blocks north in Burnaby.

Victoria Gilles


New Westminster has had trains since it was a village. If people don't like trains, then why would they purchase a residence next to and/or near a railroad? There sure are some stupid people living in New Westminster these days.

Gregory Englehart

đź“Ł SOUND OFF: Do you live within hearing distance of a railway crossing? Does the noise bother you? Got thoughts to share? Send us a letter.

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