SURREY â€” 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 Mondayâ€™s (Feb. 23) meeting, council voted unanimously to adopt the resolution, â€œthat the existing Nicomekl railway swing bridge freight speed restriction be extended south of Crescent Beach, to the 24th Avenue stairs.â€
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.
â€œCrescent Beach is a vibrant, growing neighborhood and rich natural setting as Surreyâ€™s only ocean beachfront,â€ said Mayor Linda Hepner in a release. â€œA marginal change in freight travel time will result in a significant mitigation of train traffic impacts on our residents, commuters and visitors alike.â€
Coun. Judy Villenueve, herself a Crescent Beach resident, added that the city is still working on having the line relocated, but would like to see this change made in the meantime.
Erik Seiz, president of the Crescent Beach Property Ownersâ€™ Association applauded Mayor Linda Hepner and council for passing the motion.
â€œIt reflects really positively on Linda for listening and taking the time to understand the facts,â€ he said. â€œAt the end of the day it comes down to a statistical thing, the numbers speak for themselves. Itâ€™s not some impassioned plea out of nowhere, itâ€™s just looking purely at whatâ€™s taking place here.â€
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 to 30 miles per hour (48 km/h). 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 slides during heavy rainfall, which sometimes resulting in trains having to stop while crews clear away debris on the tracks.
â€œObviously itâ€™s something that requires the federal government and railway to do but this is the first time that someoneâ€™s been able to pass a motion about it,â€ said Seiz. â€œI think everyone will feel a little more empowered now that this was the right thing to do and hopefully weâ€™ll see some changes.
â€œThatâ€™s democracy, it starts at the very bottom and it moves its way up to the next level and hopefully sooner or later, you get something that makes sense.â€