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CP Rail response doesn't track for council

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
November 25th, 2014

At its first regular meeting since the election, city council expressed frustration over a less-than-satisfactory response from CP Rail regarding a new schedule of night trains running through the region.

This, after CP Rail sent a delegation to council’s regular meeting on Oct. 6 attended by more than 100 upset residents, inspiring council, MLA Katrine Conroy and MP Alex Atamanenko to jointly pen a letter of protest to CP Rail. ( https://castlegarsource.com/news/midnight-train-controversy-draws-angry-crowd-community-forum-33674#.VHRRqGdgRnQ )

Councillor Susan Heaton-Sherstobitoff asked council to send another letter to CP Rail.

“They’re basically saying what they’ve been saying all along,” she said. “He (CP Rail’s Mike LoVecchio) said he would bring our residents’ suggestions back (to CP Rail), but there’s no indication of that in their response.”

Councillor Kevin Chernoff agreed, adding there were some excellent ideas floated by residents at the meeting, and not one of them was addressed in CP Rail’s response.

Staff was directed to draft a new letter, expressing the city’s disappointment and frustration.

CP Rail’s letter reads as follows:

Oct. 27, 2014

Dear Mr. Atamanenko, Ms. Conroy and Mayor Chernoff:

Thank you for taking the time to write on behalf of your constituents.
Canadian Pacific (CP) operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week across six provinces and 13 states. Our service is mandated under the Canadian Transportation Act. Our obligation to do safely Is mandated under the Rail Safety Act. These are responsibilities we take seriously.

I would like to thank the City of Castlegar for the opportunity to expand on those points during my appearance before Castlegar City Council on October 6‘h.

As noted in my appearance before Council, the train whistle is a vital safety devise. Rule 14 (L) (I) of the Canadian Railway Operating Rules requires train crews to sound the whistle at all crossings. The duration and decibel of the whistle are federally regulated.

I disagree with your suggestion that residents of your communities have been victimized by the sounding of the train whistle. In fact, Castlegar and the surrounding area hear the train whistle much less frequently than most communities with train operations.

I spoke in my appearance before Council about Transport Canada’s procedure for whistle cessation at level crossings. The whistle cessation process must be initiated by Council.

Only through the successfui completion of the whistle cessation process can CP crews cease sounding the train whistle. More information can be found on Transport Canada’s website: www .tc.gc.ca/eng/rallsafetv/ouideline-28 7. htm

At CP, we do believe we must be accountable for our operations. We have an obligation to provide service for customers, and we must do so safely. We also have a responsibility to our customers and shareholders to provide efficient service. Locomotives, in particular, are multimillion dollar assets. The revisions made to local operations have resulted in a more
efficient use of these valuable assets.

Despite our differing perspectives on the outcome of recent operational changes, I hope you will agree with me that values of safety, service and efficiency are aspirational traits for citizens, corporate or otherwise.

I want to thank Castlegar City Council again for the opportunity to build some understanding of CP’s local operation. Residents with· concerns are encouraged to contact

CP Community Connect toll free at 800 766-7912 or via email at
community _connect@cpr.ca. We made the decision to revise operations locally and we will address individual concerns directly.

Should you have any questions, please contact me at 778 772-9636.

Sincerely yours,

Mike LoVecchio
Director Government Affairs.

 

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