Council adopts resolution to further restrict train speeds

SURREY – After several de-coupling incidents over the past few months along the rail line in Crescent Beach, Surrey council wants the area in which trains must reduce their speeds to be increased.

As a notice of motion at Monday’s (Feb. 23) meeting, council voted unanimously to adopt the resolution, “that the existing Nicomekl railway swing bridge freight speed restriction be extended south of Crescent Beach, to the 24th Avenue stairs.”

The resolution is in response to several events dating back to 2007 when access to Crescent Beach has been blocked by trains coming uncoupled. Those incidents have increased over the past couple of months, with four taking place since August 2014.

Erik Seiz, president of the Crescent Beach Property Owners’ Association applauded Mayor Linda Hepner and council for passing the motion.

“At the end of the day it comes down to a statistical thing, the numbers speak for themselves,” Seiz said. “It’s not some impassioned plea out of nowhere.”

Currently, trains must slow down to 10 miles per hour (16 km/h) while they cross the Nicomekl Bridge just north of Crescent Beach. However, once the engine has passed through, it is then able to speed up. With a curve just south of Crescent Beach that wraps along the waterfront, some trains have come uncoupled as the front begins to gain speed while the rear is still navigating the slow zone.

As well, the area is prone to mudslides during heavy rainfall, which sometimes resulting in trains having to stop while crews clear away debris on the tracks.

“Obviously it’s something that requires the federal government and railway to do but this is the first time that someone’s been able to pass a motion about it,” said Seiz. “I think everyone will feel a little more empowered now that this was the right thing to do and hopefully we’ll see some changes.”

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