Dramatic increase in train traffic through East Vancouver

The increase in rail traffic on the Burrard Inlet spur line which crosses a number of busy streets in East Vancouver has left residents concerned.

Strathcona residents concerned CN line crosses many busy streets

Traffic has increased on the CN's Burrard Inlet spur line through East Vancouver's Strathcona neighbourhood from the occasional train to six trains daily. (Denis Dossman/CBC)

Residents of Vancouver's Strathcona neighbourhood are concerned after Canadian National Railway increased train traffic on an East Vancouver railway line that crosses a number of busy streets.

As of Jan. 2, 2017, traffic increased on the Burrard Inlet spur line from an occasional train to a total of six trains daily. CN said the change was made to restore service to Vancouver's intermodal terminals.

The railway line crosses a number of busy streets including Glen Drive, Venables Street, Union Street and Cordova Street.

Pete Fry, a longtime Strathcona resident and community advocate, says the disruption means increased delays for commuters and increased danger for cyclists and pedestrians.

Residents hadn't been properly informed, he added.

"We were a little surprised because there was so little notification," he said. "We found out by way of the city forwarding the email chain. That happened on January 2, and they had already started the program."

The Burrard Inlet spur line crosses a number of busy streets including Glen Drive, Venables Street, Union Street and Cordova Street. (Denis Dossman/CBC)

He also expressed concerns around what exactly the trains would be transporting, saying "we have no idea what's in there."

Last night, a number of concerned residents gathered to discuss what they could do next.

The MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant Melanie Mark was in attendance. 

"There's a disruption in quality of life and you have to think about the environment," she said. "We have to ensure the interests of residents aren't disrupted."

In an email to CBC News, CN said it had recently notified the city of Vancouver and other stakeholders about the increasing train traffic on the Burrard Inlet spur line, which the company described as having been an active railway line for many decades. It added the trains are carrying household consumer goods to and from the waterfront, and will move at slow speeds.