Train traffic ties up Saint John drivers

An increase in the number of trains rolling through Saint John is causing significant traffic problems in the city's east end.

Tire shop owner says business is down almost 50% this year

Saint John businesses and drivers are being faced with traffic problems as more trains are carrying crude oil to the Irving Oil Ltd. refinery 1:37

Some Saint John businesses say they are losing customers because of traffic troubles caused by an increase in the number of trains travelling on the city’s east side.

The spike in train traffic is being blamed on trains carrying crude oil to the Irving Oil Ltd. refinery in Saint John.

NB Southern Railway has more than doubled the number of trains it owns or rents in the past year.

But the company says it has already made efforts to ease the traffic concerns. In a written statement, NB Southern says it has taken steps to make the railyard more efficient and, when possible, it moves the rail cars at night. 

But even with those steps, businesses have complained they are losing customers.

November is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for Jerry Comeau and John Warden at their tire shop.

Comeau said business at his tire shop on Ashburn Lake Road is down about 50 per cent this year because of the trains.

The trains are blocking the road to the garage, so customers who are eager to get their winter tires put on are going elsewhere.

"If no one can get in, they can't get out either. And where I have to have my customers come to me, that's taking away from paying the bills," Comeau said.

Comeau said he has never seen trains cause so many delays.

Saint John Coun. David Merrithew said the city is happy to have more work for Saint John residents but he would like NB Southern not to block intersections during rush hour.

"I'm sure they're willing to work with everyone, city and population to have these trains go by at a little better hour than 4 p.m.," Merrithew said.