Bothersome Dartmouth train whistles to stop thanks to fence installation

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The Halifax municipality appears to have found a solution to a problem that's been nagging those who live in downtown Dartmouth for years. But as Global's Natasha Pace reports, the solution to stopping a loud train whistle is getting mixed reaction.

There’s a new addition being added to a popular walking trail in downtown Dartmouth — a six-foot high chain link fence.

Why? Well because CN Railway trains travelling along the tracks there have been causing headaches, especially to those at King’s Wharf, by sounding their whistles at all hours of the day and night.

The only way CN will agree to stop the whistles is to have a fence constructed.

“It just destroys the view a little bit you know, you’ve got that wire netting in the way,” Raewyn Bassett said as she walked along the pathway Thursday.

“It is a pretty nice view, and to put a fence there kind of ruins it a little bit, but I don’t mind it,” added Duncan MacNeil, who runs along the route daily. “It’s been here for a week and I’ve lived with it, it hasn’t bothered me.”

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READ MORE: Wheels in motion to silence trains at downtown Dartmouth crossing

“The overall cost of installing the fence is approximately $50,000. That’s for the fence installation,” HRM spokesperson Tiffany Chase said. “We are sharing the cost of the fence installation with CN — the ongoing maintenance will be the responsibility of the municipality.”

The Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission says it’s unfortunate a fence has to go along the waterfront, but something needed to be done.

“We needed to get the train whistle stopped,” Tim Rissesco said.

“It was interrupting the sleep for all kinds of residents in downtown Dartmouth and at King’s Wharf and the other condo projects in the downtown area.”

Besides the change in the view, other trail users are concerned with the way the fence has temporarily altered the trail.

“My main issue is that when they put the fence up they cut the trail down by half, so you actually couldn’t have two bicyclists go side by side on that trail,” said cyclist Adam Fine.

The city says the fence is still being constructed and it’s expected to be fully complete later this week, then the municipality says they will correct the trail.

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“Right now, it may look like the width of the pathway has been reduced, but we plan on reinstating that on the other side of the pathway to the full width that it was beforehand,” Chase said.

Inspectors with CN are expected to visit the site soon to fully inspect the new fence. Once it passes inspection, the whistles should stop for good.