By Justin Seward
Trains have been rolling through Irvine for years, but with that has come concerns expressed from hamlet residents for quite some time now.
“We’ve been here for 38 years and there’s always been trains, that’s never been an issue, we knew they were there,” said resident Karen Kramer.
“But the last three or four years, they’ve gotten to the point where it’s just almost continuous and they’re up to three kilometres long—which is a pretty long train. Especially when they’re carrying petro now like oil.”
Kramer lives by the railway tracks in Irvine and has noticed the train volume increase, her house vibrating and has heard from other local folks of their home foundations cracking.
“The whistle—all night long, all day long,” she said.
“LIke I know at one time, my brother was an engineer and he said he used to be two short, a long, two short and they did it. But now, I guess they’ve changed that and they can do whatever they want or do whatever they want. I’m not saying it’s all of them—it’s not—but there’s a few that just pull it and hang on to it until they’re through town.”
She often heard from people that they was no reason the conductors had to blow their whistles like that and go through town at the speed they go at.
“There were a few things that were really upsetting,” she said
Kramer along with Joan Côté launched a petition in April for signatures to get rid of the whistle through town and speed.
“It took off,” said Kramer.
“So, lots and lots of signatures and lots of questions from quite a few people about ‘Have you heard anything?’ But now I have. It was very good, I wouldn’t say unanimous, but I would say at least 70, maybe 80 per cent of the knowledgeable people signed it in town here.”
The results were forwarded on to Cypress County and councillors voted at their Sept. 22 meeting to direct administration to retain an engineer to begin the Canadian Transportation Agency process to resolve the concerns stated in the petition. There will be $20,000 coming from the Stabilization fund for the engineer to the study.
Council’s second motion was to ask for administration to send a letter to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to ask for assistance/advocating on this nation-wide concern.
“Cypress County welcomes all comments and concerns from all rate payers. We are pleased to facilitate the concerns from the residents of Irvine and CP Rail. It is our hope to have a swift resolution,” said county reeve Dan Hamilton.
Kramer was happy when she heard the news that the county would be doing something.
“I think if we can get to the bottom line, we can work something out for sure,” she said.