Barrie train whistles cease April 13

The sound of silence is pulling into Barrie after a more than three-year wait. The whistles that announce the early-morning departures of GO Trains from Barrie to points south will cease, effective 12:01 a.m., April 13.
It’s the culmination of a process that began when Ward 10 Coun. Alex Nutall, and former Ward 11 Coun. Andrew Prince, began a campaign to have the whistles silenced.
“It is with great joy that we announced the beginning of whistle cessation, beginning April 13. This removes the need to blow the whistle four times at each stop. Residents will hear the whistle still if there is any risk around the tracks. Former councillor Prince is definitely owed a thanks for his diligence on this issue,” Nutall told City Scene Barrie.
Every week for some time, Nutall had asked staff for an update on the whistle cessation, which needed to wind through CN and GO process. And every week he got the same response – that it was awaiting final clearance.
Monday night at city council, he got a different answer. Dave Friary, interim director of operations, said notification had been received Monday afternoon on the cessation of the train whistles.
Many residents of Barrie, particularly in areas close to the tracks, had complained about being jolted awake in the morning by the whistle blasts as the trains rolled through town. The issue became one of lifestyle versus safety and liability concerns, with Nutall leading the charge on the former (see this City Scene Barrie story), and Ward 7 Coun. John Brassard arguing for the continuation of the whistle (see this story).
To silence the whistles the City had to assume liability for any mishaps that occurred at level train crossings in the city (Minet’s Point Road, Little Avenue, and Mapleview Drive), erect pedestrian barriers and clear sight lines.
A fourth crossing, at Lockhart Road in Innisfil, was not included as the area, now part of Barrie, was in Innisfil when the whistle-cessation process was ongoing.
The ban only covers train whistles in the morning. They will still sound when the trains return in the afternoon and early evening, and when the train engineer believes a safety issue warrants a blast.
For additional stories on this, click here, here and here.

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