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Guelph residents gather on train tracks to protest overnight CN Rail work

Guelph residents, who are fed up with the CN Rail trains blaring their horns during overnight work, staged a small protest on the tracks on Tuesday morning.
Guelph residents, who are fed up with the CN Rail trains blaring their horns during overnight work, staged a small protest on the tracks on Tuesday morning. Phil Allt / Twitter

It was another sleepless night for many residents in Guelph’s Junction neighbourhood thanks to CN Rail trains blasting their ear-piercing horn during overnight shunting work.

The work in the area of Edinburgh and Paisley roads started last week but for the past two nights, the trains have been blaring the horn across each crossing, just steps away from homes.

READ MORE: Guelph residents furious over nighttime CN Rail train noise

About a dozen fed-up residents staged a protest on the tracks on Tuesday at around 5 a.m. and prevented the slow-moving train from crossing the road.

“We said: ‘we’re not moving until you shut [off] the horn and you agree to stop doing this,'” said Stefanie Clark, who lives next to the tracks.

“We’ve lived here for 16 years. There are residents that have been here for 20-30 years — they can handle a signal and occasional movement at night, it’s the four or five hours of train horn that is waking up the entire city.”

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There have been reports of the horn being heard in the city’s east end and even as far away as Guelph Lake.

Clark said Guelph police were called by rail employees, but no tickets were handed out and the small protest eventually dispersed.

CN Rail has given little explanation as to why the horn is necessary and Ward 3 Coun. Phil Allt is demanding answers.

He said he has been given a few explanations, but nothing concrete.

“I think CN is acting with very little consideration for the residents and that’s just not acceptable,” he said in an interview on Tuesday morning.

In a statement, CN Rail apologized for the “inconveniences” and said they will continue to engage with the city and review its operations.

READ MORE: Guelph marking Clean Air Day on June 5 with free transit rides

Allt hopes the complaints will be heard by Transport Minister Marc Garneau and encouraged residents to contact MP Lloyd Longfield’s office.

In a tweet, Longfield said he has spoken with CN Rail’s senior management and asked them to look at all options to find a solution.

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