Point residents want CN to hush trains

Some Montrealers who live next to a CN railroad in Point St. Charles are asking the transport company to tone down its freight trains.

Some Montrealers who live next to a railway in Point St. Charles are asking CN to tone down its freight trains.

The group "Nous et les Trains" filed a formal complaint last month with CN Rail, demanding new measures to reduce the noise from freight trains that pass through the southwest neighbourhood.

Daytime trains aren't a problem for everyone, but night trains are a health hazard, said Christophe Hellman, a Point resident.

"At night, at three in the morning, these things start banging — it wakes you up [and] I can't open my windows at night," he told CBC.

The day trains are a also nuisance for some people, and it creates physical stress, especially for children, said group founder Denis Boudreau.

"Often it's really hard just to concentrate on what you're doing. Same thing if you're working, if you're a freelance working from your home. If you plan on having a barbeque party in your backyard, you probably will have to stop talking for a minute or two," he said.

The problem could easily be remedied if CN could "oil their rails," Boudreau said.

"Building walls that would block the noise, better equipment that would muff down the noise when the wagons collide into one another" are also easy measures to implement, he suggested.

Residents in the area have complained to CN in the past to no avail.

But the region's Bloc Québécois member of Parliament, Thierry St-Cyr, believes a 2007 amendment to the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) will help his constituents in their cause.

The CTA now authorizes Canada's Transportation Agency — a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal — to step in and resolve noise and vibration complaints caused by railways.

"They know that if we succeed, then it sets a precedent for other communities," he said at a meeting of the group held Tuesday night.