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Train Anti-Whistling

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Whistle Cessation on Stouffville GO Line

Updated May 7, 2018

The Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) requires all trains to whistle whenever they approach a public grade crossing. While train whistling is an important way to keep drivers, cyclists and pedestrians safe, these whistles can be a bother to people living nearby. Markham Council supports the elimination of train whistles to address concerns raised by local residents.

To eliminate train whistling, Markham has to follow an eight-step process as outlined in Transport Canada's Procedure for Train Whistling at Public Grade Crossings in order to meet the requirements of the Federal Railway Safety Act and Regulation. The procedure requires the railway companies and road authorities - in this case, the City of Markham, York Region and Metrolinx - to collaborate in finding the best option for making the crossings safe.

It is important to note that even when Metrolinx approves cessation of whistling at grade crossings, the whistling may be used for other CROR requirements or at the train engineers’ sole discretion if there is an emergency.

Progress Update

In July 2016, the City retained WSP/MMM Group as a consultant for the detailed design and contract administration services of the safety upgrade works. Considering the complexity of the design works, the 13 at- grade crossings (see map below) were separated into 3 (three) packages to expedite the design, approval and construction works. At the Council meeting on September 26, 2017, Council directed staff that “a completion date for work under the responsibility of the City of Markham be targeted for on or before August 6, 2018”. 

The crossings in the three packages have been modified since the last update:

Package No.
Crossing Name (Crossing #)
Design Status
Anticipated Construction Timeline
Eureka Street (6)
Kennedy Road –North (8)
Main Street Markham (11)
Castlemore Avenue (14) Major Mackenzie Dr. E (15)
Completed and approved by Metrolinx.
Substantially Completed
Kennedy Road South (2)
Highway 7 (5)
Main Street Unionville (7)
McCowan Road (9)
Snider Drive (10) 
Bur Oak Avenue (13)
Completed and approved by Metrolinx. 
Tender awarded late April.  Construction completion anticipated late July 2018. 
Denison Street (3)
16th Avenue (12)
At 90% detailed design stage  
Timeline to be updated

(Note: These timelines are subject to change and will be updated from time to time)

Uxbridge Train Line Map

The 13 crossings to be upgraded are crossing numbers 2, 3, and 5 to 15 as identified in the map above.

What’s New

Package 2 construction has commenced.  Detailed design for Package 3 is nearing completion, and will be tendered as soon as the design is approved by the Metrolinx.

On April 3, 2018, Council passed By-law 2018-19 Whistle Cessation By-law

Work Plan

Actions Timing
Finalize safety reports and receive York Region, Metrolinx and Transport Canada final concurrence on crossing upgrades Completed
Prepare design terms of reference and consult with Metrolinx and York Region Completed
Negotiate partnership and funding principles for design Completed
Award detailed design assignment
Award Construction of Package 1
Execute agreements or Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) for design and construction with partners Completed
Award of Construction of Package 2
Execute agreements or Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) for Operation & Maintenance of grade crossing features with partners
Anticipated Tender and Construction Timeline See above in Progress Update section
Execute the whistle cessation Liability/Insurance/Indemnity agreements with Metrolinx Completed
Passing of Anti-whistling by-law by Council Completed
Public Education Program
Prior to whistle cessation

News, Resources & Information

Committee and Council Meetings