The sound of train horns will be temporarily halted for Tuesday night as CN finds a long-term solution for the noise that has triggered a backlash from tired residents, MP Lloyd Longfield and Mayor Cam Guthrie announced.
Guthrie said CN agreed in a call “that they are not going to be blasting their horns between midnight and 6 a.m.”, and instead hire workers to act as manual “street protection” so that the horns do not need to be used.
The uptick in train horns are largely attributed to what Coun. Phil Allt said was a faulty switch. Residents near the Guelph Junction west of downtown were kept up Monday and Tuesday mornings due to the “excessive” noise.
Guthrie stressed that it is a “temporary fix” but called it “a big win”. He also relayed concerns that CN and his office have around people going on the rail tracks, encouraging residents to avoid protesting in front of trains.
The mayor said he will be meeting with CN officials on Wednesday.
Residents, fed up with increasingly loud noises coming from trains and railroad crossings near the Guelph Junction gathered to protest CN, the company that owns the tracks, early on Tuesday morning.
It was the third morning that they had been woken up by the noise. About a dozen residents held a protest on the tracks on Paisley Rd., where they stood for 50 minutes. A train was stopped by the group.
When Guelph Police were called to the scene, the group refused to leave their spot on the tracks.
The disruptions started in the Paisley Rd.-Edinburgh Rd.-Raglan St. area in February but when the work was switched to being done overnight in late May.
Residents told The Post that it was during the early hours of May 30 when trains started triggering their horns, adding to the sound of construction and railroad crossing signal sounds.
On Sunday night, it reached a new level that involved the mayor and Council.
After incessant horns kept citizens up for hours the night before, Monday evening was devoid of any unusual sounds coming from trains until later Tuesday morning, residents told The Post.
There was an eruption of complaints on Monday morning after noise related to what CN called investment in the local railway kept families, employees and others awake for several hours.
It was just the straw that broke the camel’s back, however, as the noise had been getting louder in recent weeks. The mayor, councillors and MP Lloyd Longfield were contacted by concerned citizens and it received national coverage.
Bob Riley, who lives near the Guelph Junction where a lot of the noise was emanating from, told The Post that overnight there were no track sounds. Riley, who lives at Waterloo Ave. and Roland St., is a night shift worker and sympathized with those impacted.
“It doesn’t bug me much,” Riley said, as he is usually up for his shift. “But if I were to be working days I could see how that would be very aggravating.”
The silence did not last for long.
Residents said that later on Tuesday morning they heard trains blasting horns starting at around 4:47 a.m. — and one Twitter user explained that Guelph Police were given permission by CN to arrest residents that came out to the rails in protest.
The Twitter user, Stefanie Clark, said residents stopped the train horn until 6 a.m., calling CN’s actions “inhumane”.
Clark later posted that CN staff told her that they have to use the horn and that it is “in the manual”. She explained in a thread that the 140 decibel noises “persistently in the night wakes up everyone in the neighbourhood.”
“A secondary issue is the shunting [and] train signal noise which is also persistent.”
Hazel de Borja, who lives on Glasgow St. North, said she heard the horns go off overnight at a time when she said she was “supposed to be sleeping.”
It was the first time de Borja heard the train because she was away for the weekend, but she knew quickly it was unusual.
“From my apartment I can hear just the regular train bells going on a normal night, so hearing the blaring horns that loud for that long, I honestly thought I was dreaming,” she told The Post.
“I really feel for my neighbours in the loss of sleep because we are all hearing the same thing, some louder than others.”
The Post has reached out for comment from CN in regards to events that took place Tuesday morning.