Dear Arbutus Corridor Resident:
By now, you may have noticed that we've been doing some work on the CP Rail line that runs through your neighbourhood. It's been fairly well publicized, especially after we tore out your community gardens, some of which have been in place long enough for fruit-bearing trees to actually bear fruit. We feel kind of bad about that part. We haven't said or done anything to indicate that we feel bad, but trust us – we do. A little bit.
You may have also noticed the signs that have gone up recently that read: CPR Railway Operations Recommencing. Active Railway Traffic – Do Not Stop on Tracks – Obey Flag Persons. For More Information Call 3-1-1.
Yes, we know. 3-1-1 is the number for the City of Vancouver contact centre. We don't want to hear your complaints. And channelling all of your discontent to the city is exactly our plan.
As we resume railway operations, you may notice some changes in your neighbourhood from King Edward, south to Marine Drive.
First, we'll start rolling trains through the neighbourhood very slowly, just so you know we're there. A diesel engine with a couple of harmless-looking cars attached to it. This may affect east-west traffic as well as transit routes on King Edward, 33rd Avenue, 41st Avenue, 49th Avenue, 57th Avenue and Marine Drive as well as all side streets where we have the right of way. We'll do our best to do this in off-peak hours, but we're not saying a train might not stop for no reason at 41st and West Boulevard at like, 8:15 in the morning or 5 in the afternoon. Plan accordingly.
A reminder that there are no railway crossing arms or signals at any of these locations. Please obey the flag persons. If you've become used to using the rail corridor as a walking or biking trail, well, those days are over. Don't forget to tell your kids, too.
Moving rolling stock during off-peak hours means that we may use the line to assemble trains between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. This will be done for training purposes. This activity may cause a considerable amount of noise due to shunting and impact, particularly with trainees since they tend to be especially zealous when it comes to coupling rail cars. Also, they really like the sound of the whistle, which you will learn is not the train whistle you remember from childhood but rather an earth-shattering horn blast.
As well, since the tracks haven't been used in 15 years, we expect a lot of screeching. The metal-on-metal kind of screeching you feel in your teeth. Also, there is the noise of the diesel engines, not to mention the exhaust. If noise is a problem, please call 3-1-1. If air quality is your concern, please contact Metro Vancouver or Vancouver Coastal Health.
We're not ruling out livestock. From time to time it may be necessary to utilize the corridor for short-term storage of livestock destined for processing, or material bound for the rendering plant. We apologize in advance for any odour issues. We are sincerely sorry.
Also, you may wake up one morning to find a long line of DOT-111 tanker cars sitting in front of your house. They look exactly like the ones you've seen in the news – coal-black and menacing. But the likelihood that these will explode is virtually zero, statistically speaking. They may be fully loaded or they may not. We're not saying for security reasons. You're the ones who moved in across the street from a rail line. Deal with it.
At present, there is no plan to transport nuclear waste, mine tailings, nor any other form of toxic waste through the Arbutus corridor. It would be a shame though if that changed, don't you think? I mean, if something were to go wrong?
We're not saying any of this is going to happen. It doesn't have to happen. There's a way to make this all go away – if you get our drift.
"Committed to our shareholders."
Stephen Quinn is the host of On the Coast on CBC Radio One, 88.1 FM and 690 AM in Vancouver.