I wake up bleary-eyed and disoriented, my mind still not sure if it’s awake or asleep. I hear a sound, but I can’t quite place it, until my brain finally registers: it’s another train. Now I’m really awake, the horn of the train blaring as it passes through the tracks right beside my home. It feels like a nightmare, our windows practically rattling as the train’s horn blasts incessantly. It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last of the night.
My husband counts seven sleep disruptions, seven times that we’re roused from a dreamless sleep.
Perhaps the most jarring part is that our three kids sleep through it all. Our daughters, ages two, five, and seven, never sleep through the night. We’ve spent nearly seven years waking up, for one reason or another, and on the rare night that our kids are exhausted enough to sleep through the night—so deeply asleep that seven obnoxious trains blasting past their house don’t wake them, that’s the night we’re awake.
Our family lives right near the Junction, at Paisley and Edinburgh in Guelph, where many Guelph residents have been irritated by the night trains over the last few days. Word on the street is that the tracks, owned by CN Rail, are in such dire condition, that trains can’t switch tracks when the weather is above 22°C. Instead, the trains are coming through at night, blasting the horn into the midnight air, while Guelphites attempt to sleep, many unsuccessfully.
The anger in Guelph is palpable.
People have flocked to social media to express their outrage. CBC and Global News are reporting on the issue, and Guelph’s Cam Guthrie has made a video about the issue, promising to work hard to send the message to CN Rail that this is unacceptable.
For those of us that are being kept awake by the trains, the media is nice, but solutions would be even better. CN Rail didn’t consult with the city, the mayor, councillors, or the community impacted by the changes. To make matters even more painful (is that possible?), there isn’t a timeline on when this will stop. The tracks are going to be repaired, but we don’t know when, and we don’t know how long it will take. Some are saying it could take up to two months.
It looks like a summer of sleepless nights is in store for many Guelph residents, and that’s simply unacceptable.
Whether you’re a mother like me, who needs her sleep to care for her kids, keep our house presentable, and earn an income through a highly-cognitive job. Or whether you’re a pet owner with a terrified pet, a parent with a child who can’t sleep, or just a human who needs sleep—to work, live, and function.
Sleeping is a fairly basic human right, and for those of us who have had our rights taken because damaged tracks, it feels like a very big issue, one that requires immediate solutions.
For now, this mom is in need of some extra caffeine, with a dash of patience, and maybe some takeout for dinner.