Mayor Cam Guthrie addressed concerns raised largely by residents that live by rails between Willow Rd. and Edinburgh Rd. on Monday over train noises that reached a new level overnight, saying he told the rail line owners, CN, that their actions were “unacceptable”.
“I was upset that they didn’t even give us the courtesy to let us know that that this type of operation was going to be taking place,” Guthrie said after a phone call with CN.
The mayor said he let CN officials know that the amount of noise being generated was “unacceptable and needs to stop”, but said he was disappointed with their response as they gave a vague reply around “investments” in the area.
“They gave me no timeline when these investments were taking place,” Guthrie said in a video posted to social media, adding that CN said they were “sorry for what is happening” and that he does not see the late night work being resolved “anytime soon”.
It was unclear if the work that CN was referring to includes the loud train horns that residents heard in the early morning around 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. near the rail junction.
Guthrie said that on June 10 intends to bring forward a motion for council to support a letter to CN “indicating that what is occurring is unacceptable and there has to be a better way moving forward.”
The mayor added that he has reached out to staff to learn more about what they can do about the federal rail company. He encouraged residents to speak up by contacting CN via email.
“How I am supposed to work tomorrow is beyond me,” a Guelph resident on Twitter wrote after trains upped the volume overnight. The teacher added that “this is too much. I’m exhausted,” calling it “inhumane treatment”.
Though residents in the area tell The Post that the noise from CN has increased since the company took over the rail in late 2018, it reached a breaking point on Sunday night into Monday morning with the horns.
Ward 3 Coun. Phil Allt said that he believed the blaring horns were because of an issue related to a line switch, telling The Post that CN told him they will work to resolve the issue quickly.
“Actions speak so much more loudly than train horn blasts,” he added.
A nearby resident says he heard from a CN worker that the issue has been fixed, but that Monday night will reveal the truth behind the statement.
A CN spokesperson told The Post in a statement that they apologize to residents for the inconveniences and “will continue to engage with the City and review its operations in order to mitigate as much as possible frustrations by local residents”.
Alexandre Boulé explained that when CN resumed control of operations in Guelph after a lease held by the Goderich Exeter Railway expired, the rails were not in good condition.
Boulé said the rail infrastructure inherited by CN “requires significant investment for safety and efficiency purposes” and that they have “begun making investments this year and will continue to invest in safety through 2020.”
“These investments will address many of the issues leading to current frustrations”, he added, noting the build-up of disturbance from the Guelph line since the fall.
“Going forward, we will make sure to notify the City of any planned changes in our operations that might have an impact on the residents.”