Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

To Blow or Not To Blow

Posted by auroracitizen on October 31, 2008

Aurora Council is once again dealing with the issue of whether or not to blow. Surprisingly, I am not talking about Council meetings, but about the ongoing debate about train whistles at level crossings.

It seems that a number of residents have been complaining about the noise from trains blowing their whistles at night when traveling through our fair town.

The obvious question must be asked, if you don’t want to listen to a train whistle, why did you buy a house close to a train track. It seems the folks who live close to train tracks should accept responsibility for their initial decision.

It’s kind of similar to backing on St John’s Sideroad or Bathurst and then being surprised when they widen the road because of increased traffic. Or purchasing next to hydro corridors and then being surprised when the want to run higher voltage lines through the same corridor.

Too often today, people are very quick to blame others for their own short-sighted thinking.

Mayor Morris is quoted in The Banner stating, “Residents have dealt with this problem long enough.” That will be cold comfort if someone is harmed because the whistles are stopped.

I know there is strong opinions on both sides of this issue. So let’s hear what you think. And be sure to vote on the survey.

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5 Responses to “To Blow or Not To Blow”

  1. Grace Marsh said

    I live close to the tracks as well and I remember when we first bought our home and my father came to visit. He heard the train whistle and a smile came to his face and he said, “you are so lucky to live where you can hear train whistles, they are a comforting sound”. When I asked him to elaborate, he explained that during WWII when he was overseas the sound of a train whistle always meant good news, such as fresh troops arriving, tired troops going home or supplies being replenished.

    Ever since, on the occasions when I do hear the whistle, not only does it not disturb me, it actually brings a smile to my face for a fond memory and a sense of comfort. It seems its all in the way you let things effect you. Thanks Dad.

  2. StephanieAllen said

    Well put! (Comment directly above me at 3:46pm). You said it all, so I won’t add much. I have also lived very close to the train, and the occasional time a whistle woke me was well worth the 3 minute walk to the GO train to get to work. Council needs to stop listening to whiners and put their foot down on obvious safety issues!

  3. Anonymous said

    Last week there was a death of a woman crossing railroad tracks in Vaughan. She did not hear a warning from the train and it is believed that the train was operating under a no-whistle by-law.

    I find it unbelievable that the federal government (which regulates railroads) would allow a municipality the latitude to silence one of the few safety features that exist between a train and the public. Even more unbelievable is that a municipality would undertake such a course of action in the first place.

    Railroads have been a fixture in this country since the mid-1800s (everyone remember the Big Spike!). They are not making many new rail lines these days. If anyone is looking to buy a house, common sense and due-diligence would mean that you would investigate the surrounding area.

    It is also my understanding that the sounding of the horn (or whistle as everyone likes to call it) in a no-sound area is at the discretion of the locomotive’s crew. I suggest that if this stupid by-law is passed (with a equally stupid price tag), I will personally erect signs on the rail line asking that locomotive crews sound their horn/whistle for the safety of the residents of this town. Who’s with me?

  4. Anonymous said

    We live a couple of blocks away from the Centre and Wellington crossings. I’m a light sleeper, so I often wake up when the night-time freight train rolls hard and whistles through. But I fall back to sleep knowing that at least the train is evidence of jobs in our region making/needing the contents of those freight cars.
    Plus, I’d rather a train rolling through then a huge number of tractor-trailers on the road with sleepy drivers at the wheel at that hour of the night.
    Which is more dangerous?

  5. Anonymous said

    Just so we’re clear on the train whistle by-law.
    A midnight freight rolls through town. Mischievous scamp of an engineer blows whistle. A VIOLATION! Do we need witnesses? perhaps a YouTube video or does the bylaw officer need to be on scene at the time? Once we’ve sorted that out what next? Do we write a ticket? who do we send it to? What if they don’t pay? Can we block the tracks through town until they cough up?
    Oh well – I guess it sounded like a good idea at the time.

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