LETTERS: Divisive diversions

Letters writers react to opinions expressed over train noise.


The so-called 8 p.m.-to-6 a.m. ‘quiet period’ posted at White Rock’s train tracks has been reasonably effective, at least for us, for the past 25 years.

However, with the advent of shipping U.S. thermal coal to Deltaport for shipment to China, the nightly train horns have been extremely disruptive to our sleep.

Note that Oregon and Washington residents also are fighting against this coal shipment and the building of coal shipping ports in their states. They can’t all be elites living close to the BSNF tracks who didn’t notice the tracks before moving to the area.

Remember that several Lower Mainland cities are fighting the planned new coal trans-shipment terminal on the Fraser River to China via another at Texada Island. One reason is for health – primarily coal pollution, but noise pollution may be included. It has been proven that noise and lack of sleep affect one’s health and is the reason some airports in Europe prevent plane departures after 11 p.m.

We find it appalling that some recent and earlier letter writers lack empathy for people who are negatively affected by sleep-disrupting train horns.

Some of these people wax enthusiastic about the sound of train horns. That’s your right, but don’t call the rest of us elites and chastise us for moving to White Rock without foreseeing that 25 years later we would have our sleep disrupted multiple times a night.

In addition, it is galling that it brings minimal economic benefits to Canada – as well as increased pollution here and in China, which contributes to global warming.

We hope White Rock can work with BSNF and the Canadian Rail Safety Agency to find a cost-effective solution to this divisive problem.

W. & P. Millar, White Rock

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When I hear complaints about the train noise and pollution, I can’t help but think about the 24-hour exposure each of us has to toxins that are directly related to homes, cars and commercial trucks.

For every residence built, there comes a steady stream of pollution and noise-producing machines.

Large trucks, like trains, are mostly powered by diesel and, according to the BC Air Quality,  “emit the same pollutants as gasoline engines, except that they produce much higher amounts of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter and lower amounts of volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide.”

Dump trucks are now common on our residential streets, as one more home gets destroyed and all that waste gets hauled away. Then comes months of transport trucks that bring in materials required to build. Every day there are workers coming into our neighbourhoods, driving their vehicles – and that is all to build your homes and feed consumer needs.

How about transit? Buses run mainly on diesel and produce a higher volumes of noise due to frequency of stops and size.

You want to talk about trains! Try living near schools where the ‘mommy trains’ speed through our communities and idle while they wait to pick up their passengers twice a day. I wonder if any of these noisy-train-hating, pollution-concerned residents are the same people I see emitting chemicals and particulates into our atmosphere while they shuttle around their children.

It seems a little hypocritical to be so worried about environmental impacts and potential danger from trains, when we can document the tragedies and environmental footprint related to our personal vehicles. I agree with all those that have sent letters to the editor stating, “If you don’t like trains then don’t live near the tracks.”

The bottom line is if you aren’t growing it or mining it in your backyard, then expect that whatever you need will be transported – and, yes, sometimes that is by train.

It is time for people to realize we don’t live in a utopia.

Spending millions to silence a whistle, legislate against stupidity or reduce emissions from trains, while we bathe ourselves in chemicals and contribute to more noise pollution than any other generation before us, seems entirely asinine to me.

J. Chandler Zehner, Surrey



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