From The Gazette


Residents want trains to slow down

Michel Girard has no shelves in his home, and only one picture hanging, and he has had to fasten some furniture to the wall.

That’s because nearly every hour, or about 17 times per day, a cargo train speeds by his home on Du Ruisselet St. in Vaudreuil-Dorion. Girard, whose back door is 150 feet from a rail line, said noise and vibrations last for about three minutes each time, and he has measured the noise at 108 decibels.

“The whole house shakes,” Girard said. “Windows, doors, mirrors, and dishes in the cupboards. Everything moves. I have to put all my audio equipment back in place at least once a day, because the trains displace everything.”

Girard said the noise and vibrations are the worst when the cargo trains travel at high speeds, so he is hoping to convince Canadian Pacific, which owns the track, to slow its trains down when they travel through Vaudreuil-Dorion.

When Girard bought his house, he was assured by his real estate agent the track wasn’t very busy, and that trains would slow down near residential areas.

“I lived close to the track in Pierrefonds for 14 years and it was never an issue,” he said. “We were told it was only two to three trains a day, and we tried to get information from CP, and couldn’t get any.”

But nearly three years, and about 20,000 trains later, Girard said he suffers from sleep deprivation.

“It wakes me up every night and every day,” he said. “I was up at 3:30 this morning, and got back to sleep an hour later, then there was another train at 5 a.m.”

Girard complained to CP, and the company sent inspectors out to make sure the track was in proper working order, and that the all the norms were respected.

Speaking for CP, Ed Greenberg said the company takes complaints from residents seriously.

“We found we are operating according to safe and necessary regulated train operation standards,” Greenberg said. “Our railway attempts to balance community actions with our commitment to safely meet the needs of our customers.”

Greenberg said the company operates in accordance with track speeds that are regulated by Transport Canada. Track speeds in that area vary between 45 and 60 miles per hour, Greenberg said, or between 72 and 96 kilometres per hour.

He added he was surprised to hear it was difficult to get information from CP about how many trains run on the rail line near his home, because the company has a toll-free phone number to respond to such questions.

Girard enlisted the help of the Vaudreuil Residents Action Group – a local citizens committee.

“It’s everyone who lives near the tracks,” said Pam Sidhu-Mahal, the spokesperson for VRAG. “There’s also a park next to the tracks, which is the only park for the neighbourhood, and when the trains go by, it is horrendous.”

Sidhu-Mahal said she’s hoping to gather a group of people to make a complaint to Transport Canada, in the hopes that the federal body will start a mediation process with CP.

Last week, the group met with Mayor Guy Pilon to express their concern about the situation.

“We’re going to see if we can join with other West Island municipalities to pass a resolution and ask that CP slow the trains down,” Pilon said.

Residents who wish to join the complaint against the trains can contact Sidhu-Mahal at

CP’s Community Connect phone number is: 1-800-766-7912.
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  1. People like Mr Girouard boggle my mind… you knew the trains were there before you bought your house… the park came after as well. I live in VD, yes there are trains, yes my house shakes. but I knew what I was getting in to before I purchased my property.

    This is almost as bad as the poeple in Beaconsfield who move in next to the highway, and expect the speed limits to be lowered or a sound barrier be put up and have someone else foot the bill.

    Mr Girard, please sell your home and move far from the tracks where you will be able to sleep soundly.

  2. I live on DeTonnancour and I have been living there for over 2 years now and can see that track and hear those trains from my place and I can honestly say I have never seen that train passing anywhere near 96km/h. When I do see one on that track it’s either stopped or moving VERY slowly.
    I agree with Eric that you should know what your getting yourself into moving that close to a freight train track. Those trains are very long and heavy, so if you’d like them to slow down that just means your house will shake longer!

  3. does anyone have any common sense anymore? you moved into a house right next to a railway line so of course there is going to be noise and vibrations. its like the poster said in regards to those residents in the west island who moved into homes located right next the highway and what either the drivers to slow down or the town to caught up public money to fix a problem that shouldn’t of happened if common sense was used. its the same thing out in the south shore with those houses built right next to the airport and guess what?… the residents what the airport to close or reduce the amount of take off and landings…ridiculous. the tracks have been running through vd longer than the houses were there, same with highway 20, and the St Hubert airport. people need to do some research about where they’re living and take responsibility instead putting it on others.

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