CN Rail to stop using horns at night after complaints by Guelph residents

CN Rail says it will stop using horns and whistles while overnight shunting work is going on in Guelph. File / Global News

Guelph residents may soon get a good night’s sleep after being kept awake by ear-piercing train horns and whistles during overnight shunting work in the city’s Junction neighbourhood.

Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield said he spoke with CN Rail officials on Tuesday and together they came up with a few solutions.

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

The most important takeaway is that the horns and whistles through the night will stop immediately.

The work will still continue, but extra staff will be controlling crossings at intersections with flags in the Paisley and Edinburgh roads area.

“Whistles and horns will not be coming back,” Longfield said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

Residents had filed several complaints with his office, the city and CN Rail after the work started up last week. The whistles and horns only started on Sunday night and it’s still unclear why they were necessary.

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Some of those who have lived in the area for decades said they understand that living beside train tracks comes with some noise, but they have never heard whistles and horns during the overnight hours.

Longfield said there is also a plan to move the work past sunrise, possibly in the 6-7 a.m. range, but it’s not known when that might happen.

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

“As soon as it is possible, CN will implement new summer operating hours,” CN spokesperson Alexandre Boulé said in an email.

“Once in place, the new operational schedule will only use train whistles at more appropriate hours.”

Boulé said CN had to modify its schedule during the summer months until current rail infrastructure is upgraded.

“CN apologizes to residents of the City of Guelph for the inconveniences and frustrations caused by recent changes,” he said.

Mayor Cam Guthrie posted a video to Twitter after being briefed by CN officials and said it’s a big win for Guelph.

“Let’s take them at their word right now that they’re going to be working with us,” he said.

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Some sleep-deprived residents reached a boiling point on Tuesday morning and about a dozen of them staged a small protest by standing on the tracks while the train was stopped.

Guelph police were called, but no tickets were handed out. A police spokesperson said the residents were very respectful to the officers on scene and left the tracks without any incident.

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

Guthrie and Longfield both urged residents to stay off the tracks while the work is underway.

“We all have to work on solutions together,” Longfield said.

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