Whistle stop: trains to go silent in Winnipeg neighbourhood
Source: CBC News
Published: June 25th 2009
A 10-year battle to silence train whistles that blare through an East Kildonan neighborhood ended Wednesday after Winnipeg council voted in favour of their cessation.

"It's got to be the most annoying thing," said Cam Oswald, who works at an auto repair shop near a train crossing on Callsbeck Avenue. "And it's not just a little blast, a little toot, they go from halfway down the block, laying on the horn the whole time."

Bob Novakowski, who has lived in the area for 27 years, said he's used to trains but the whistles have been deafening. "Oh, it's terrible," he said. "You've got to listen to this throughout the day from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. If there are 30 trains going by, or 40, or 70, you're going to hear every time they come by."

Trains are required to use their whistles at public crossings unless other safety precautions are in place. The whistles of the Canadian Pacific trains that run through the area were silenced in 2003 when flashing lights and a gate were installed at the crossing.

But two years later, in 2005, the whistles were reactivated due to safety concerns over the train's intersection with a school walkway, said a CP spokesperson.

However, a fence with a locked gate surrounds the school and two crossing guards escort children across the tracks. Residents told CBC News the safety precautions in place at the school have been there for years, so they don't know why the whistles are necessary and have been pushing council to do something about them.

On Wednesday, councillors voted in favor of creating a bylaw that would silence the whistles for good. The last whistle across Callsbeck Avenue is expected within the next few months.

Oswald can hardly wait.

"That would make my day. That would be really nice," he said.