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Train whistling back in Chilliwack after latest fatality

Loud whistles have been sounding at crossings in Chilliwack since last week, City of Chilliwack says

Train whistling is back in Chilliwack.

Loud whistles from passing CN trains have been sounding at all hours across Chilliwack.

The return of the whistling is in direct response to the latest train fatality last week near the rail crossing at Eagle Landing Parkway.

"CN Rail has informed the City of Chilliwack that, by order from Transport Canada, effective immediately, they have re-instituted train whistling throughout our region in response to a recent fatality on the tracks," according to city officials on June 7.

The latest fatal train incident was on June 5 when a freight train struck a pedestrian. Fire crews and police were called to the scene at about 8:20 a.m. at Eagle Landing Parkway.

rail-crossings
Map of rail crossings affected by train whistling. (City of Chilliwack map)

Chilliwack resident James Szmigelsky has lived beside the Broadway Street railway crossing since 1997.

It seems "ridiculous" to him how often the horn has sounded in the past weeks.

"It seems that every train that goes by blows their whistle," Szmigelsky said. "But it's never been like this."

It's been waking him up but he also said he is aware of several fatalities on the tracks near his home over the years.

"I've seen a lot of stuff happening here," the neighbour added.

City of Chilliwack has invested in "significant upgrades to local rail crossings" over the years in order to cut the need for train whistle warnings in the community, as well as engaging in rail safety educational campaigns.

The whistling had been cause for numerous complaints from residents prior to cessation.

Whistle cessation has been in place at the railway's road crossings between Prest Road and Evans Road since 1984, and in more recent years they were also negotiated at crossings in Rosedale.

"The City of Chilliwack is encouraging CN Rail to increase their investment in more secure, protective fencing to make it more difficult for people to access tracks at known trespass locations," according to the June 7 release on the city website.

"We remind all residents to never walk or play on or near the train tracks and to use caution walking, wheeling or cycling at designated road-rail crossings."

See rail safety tips, at chilliwack.com/RailSafety. Anyone with concerns or complaints can contact CN Rail for inquiries: 1-888-888-5909 or contact@cn.ca.

cntrain_broadway10612
A CN Rail train crosses Broadway Street in Chilliwack on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)


Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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