LETTERS: Loud reaction to train concerns

A young beachgoer watches as a train makes its presence known along White Rock’s waterfront tracks Saturday. - Tracy Holmes photo
A young beachgoer watches as a train makes its presence known along White Rock’s waterfront tracks Saturday.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo


Re: Cacophony on the waterfront, July 10 letters.

In response to G. Ponsford’s insightful letter, I could not agree more.

BNSF and Transport Canada are fighting an ever-losing battle; it is impossible to legislate against stupidity, particularly willful stupidity. As already stated, on some of these occasions Social Darwinism is inevitable.

Living in South Surrey, I don’t have the misery of living with the constant whistle-blowing directly, though I still can hear it quite clearly.

The powers-that-be are removing our freedom and quality of life to the point of creating a police state!

M. Boon, Surrey

• • •

Although I am in general agreement with Gerard Ponsford’s letter to the editor, one statement stands out for me as requiring further discussion. I refer to his: “When BNSF was permitted to lay the tracks a century ago…”

This implies it had been BNSF’s decision to move their line from its then location to the east, where it crossed 16 Avenue at approximately 180 Street, side-hilling in a northeast direction up the hill, and so on.

According to my now-late informant – a longtime resident of the area and one-time reeve of Surrey in the 1960s – it was the desire of the residents of the Peninsula to have the line moved to its present location in order to provide a train station at White Rock.

In those days, rail transportation was of high importance as good roads and cars were scarce. A station at White Rock meant Vancouverites could get to their beach homes at White Rock on weekends quickly.

I believe that this information should be considered by those so determined to blame all on the railroad.

Emerson Reid, Surrey

• • •

Re: Mayor warns of federal indifference to rail fears, July 10.

Why, after decades of having little governing, few safety measures other than the normal signage, warnings, some appropriate fencing, a few honks from the engineers at their discretion and very few deaths considering the thousands and thousands of visitors, has our beach front suddenly been targeted?

It has nothing to do with the poor woman who unfortunately forgot she was crossing an active railway track and didn’t look both ways as we are all taught from a very young age to do when crossing a road or track.

As stated at the July 7 meeting, we are all angry, tired from interrupted sleep, agitated and wondering the purpose of extreme honking – 115 honks along two kilometres – at all hours of the day and night.

(Editor’s note: To mitigate, last week Transport Canada replaced its “dawn until dusk” order to specify repeated horn blasts are required from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

The ‘deflection’ of the extreme honking and sudden deep concern for pedestrian safety is to have us fighting that, instead of the real issue – which is to move these tracks and the lethal cargo they carry along this bay.

Many lives and this beautiful bay will be lost if there is an accident or derailment – and we all know it.

These past weeks have been absolutely ridiculous in every fashion imaginable – tightening up any open fencing, gates erected, then locked, then unlocked, then removed… People are now crawling through the fencing with lawn chairs, swimming gear, etc. The right hand clearly doesn’t know what the left is doing.

Let’s get real and all compromise and work together to make train cargo all across Canada much safer.

Barb Mallard, White Rock

• • •

Another Peace Arch News, and more articles and letters whining about the railway tracks.

A lot of the residents of White Rock and Crescent Beach must think they are very special. Trains run through hundreds of densely populated communities in Canada. Every year right across the country, people who don’t look before crossing the tracks get killed.

Anyone younger than 90 years old knew the tracks were there when they bought their properties. Anyone with any foresight would know that just as the traffic has increased on our roads, so it will on rail.

If you don’t like it, move. Don’t be so arrogant to think it is appropriate to move your problem to another neighbourhood. Lobby for safer rail.

Anna Dean, Surrey



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