There is no substantial reason for the noise dispute between sleep-deprived Quayside residents and the railroads to rumble, toot and screech in the same old way.
As I wrote in a letter some months ago, the Southern Railway of B.C. let the cacophonous cat out of the bag when it made arrangements for an overhaul of its antique swing bridge to Annacis Island.
To allow the maintenance workers to work each day without interruption, the company simply stopped its train crossings for the daytime shift.
This went on for weeks, and apparently SRBC met its hauling obligations successfully with crossings limited to about 16 hours a day.
It is clear, then, that if the 16-hour system were used daily - with the closed shift running from 11 p.m to 7 a.m. - the bridge area residents could get back their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes and SRBC could continue to prosper.
And all Quayside rail companies could similarly limit their activities, as E.C. "Ted" Eddy has suggested, or move marshalling operations to an industrial area such as United Boulevard.
Instead, the iron horse continues to rule and rile as the city's mayor pursues his own ineffectual moves instead of joining the practical plans of the Quayside Community Board and the Canadian Transport Agency. Every now and then a choo-choo fan scolds Quayside dwellers for choosing to live in a beautiful riverside location in the logical belief that the noise problem can be resolved.
The rail supporters seem to accept the proposition that once the railways moved in some decades ago and made a noisy industrial eyesore of the place, they should never be challenged. I wonder what Vancouver would be like today if the same thinking had prevailed over the splendid changes to False Creek, where sawmills once ruled and waste burners belched eye-stinging smoke?