Order No. 1999-R-123

March 8, 1999

With Decision No. 87-R-1999

March 8, 1999

IN THE MATTER OF complaints filed by Alison J. Burnham, Mark Brocklehurst/Carol Syrnyk, Rob Kerr, Peter Krysmanski (on his own behalf and on behalf of the Oakville Stop-CN-In-Their-Tracks Committee), Mary K. Martin, Tessa M. Chalmers and Peter D. Pellier concerning the noise levels emanating from the operations of the Canadian National Railway Company in its Oakville Yard in Oakville, Ontario.

File No. R 8030/03


Between August 6 and October 5, 1998, the Canadian Transportation Agency (hereinafter the Agency) received seven complaints signed by 8 residents as set out in the title.

The Agency has considered the complaints and the submissions filed by the parties and in accordance with the Decision appended hereto, the Agency, pursuant to section 26 and subsection 27(1) of the Canada Transportation Act, S.C., 1996, c. 10, orders CN to:

  1. Immediately take all corrective measures, available to it, to significantly reduce existing sound levels, resulting from its rail operations in the southwest portion of its Oakville Yard (hereinafter the southwest yard), to something approaching those that existed prior to the transfer of traffic from the Hamilton Yard in the spring of 1998;
  2. Immediately commence monitoring the sound levels emanating from the southwest yard, on a biweekly basis, as follows:
    1. take all noise measurements at the rear fence line of the Oakville service depot on Cornwall Road as was done in the Vibron study,
    2. conduct sound levels measurements (1 hour equivalent levels - Leq) in order to establish background noise levels and those that result from CN's rail operations in the southwest yard, and
    3. conduct impulse sound measurements (A-weighted decibels of impulse noise - dBAI) during periods of shunting;
  3. Within 60 days of the issuance of this Order, consult in writing with the complainants, on their views as to:
    1. any physical changes CN has achieved in its operations in the southwest yard to achieve noise reductions pursuant to clause 1,
    2. their perceptions of any change in the noise levels emanating from the southwest yard, and
    3. their views on the sound data collected pursuant to clause 2;
  4. Within 75 days of the issuance of this Order, prepare and submit a report, to the satisfaction of the Agency, that:
    1. includes the results of the monitoring of sound levels (clause 2) plus the date and time of data collection along with the weather conditions,
    2. includes a plan of the southwest yard and the homes in the Eastlake community showing the location where the sound level measurements were taken and the homes of residents consulted,
    3. reflects the results of the public consultations (clause 3),
    4. demonstrates the success of corrective measures undertaken (clause 1);
  5. Provide the complainants with a copy of the report, required under clause 4 for comment. The complainants are to submit their comments with the Agency and CN within 10 days of receipt of the report.
  6. Within 120 days of the issuance of this Order, submit a long-term noise abatement plan to the satisfaction of the Agency that:
    1. will ensure that CN causes as little damage as possible when carrying out its railway operations in the southwest yard,
    2. is based on a detailed feasibility study of available alternatives for the long-term abatement of noise emanating from the southwest yard as a result of its railway operations,
    3. includes a full substantiation of any findings or conclusions, and
    4. addresses, but is not limited to, the following alternatives:
      1. berms and noise barriers,
      2. use of push versus roll shunting,
      3. transfer of shunting activities from the southwest yard to the east end of the south tracks in the Oakville Yard,
      4. rescheduling of shunting or line-haul trains,
      5. use of a nighttime curfew,
      6. implementation of yard improvements,
      7. installation of rail lubricators,
      8. transferring the shunting to another CN yard, and
      9. renegotiating with the shunting service provider in Hamilton and returning the Hamilton Yard traffic there,

    The analysis of each alternative shall provide:

    • a detailed description of the steps required to fully implement the alternative,
    • the potential effectiveness of the alternative in reducing noise in the Eastlake community (based on the predicted sound level reduction, in decibels, for that alternative),
    • a preliminary cost estimate for implementing the alternative,
    • a detailed description of any effects the alternative might have on CN's other operations,
    • a schedule for implementing the alternative,
    • the full reasons for including or excluding the alternative from the noise abatement plan, and
    • the predicted overall noise level reduction, in decibels expected at the closest homes in the Eastlake community, after the full implementation of the noise abatement plan;
  7. Along with the noise abatement plan, submit a monitoring plan (including the specifications for the collection of sound measurements), to the satisfaction of the Agency, to:
    1. ensure the full implementation of any new or modified procedures set out in the noise abatement plan,
    2. evaluate its effectiveness of the plan in reducing the sound levels, resulting from CN's railway operations in the southwest yard, and
    3. report regularly to the Agency on the success of the noise abatement plan; and
  8. Provide the complainants with a copy of the noise abatement plan and the monitoring plan for comment. The complainants are to submit their comments with the Agency and CN on those two plans within 30 days of receipt.
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