TransLink to resume ‘grinding’ after New West noise complaints

A rash of letters to the editor published by the New Westminster Record and a new petition has prompted a response from TransLink.

Michel Ladrak, president and general manager, BC Rapid Transit Company, emailed the Record with his own letter to the editor, promising that work is set to begin soon that will hopefully reduce noise issues.

“We will soon resume rail grinding in sections of New Westminster,” Ladrak said. “The rail surface can become corrugated or pitted after the repeated passing of train wheels, which is largely the cause of noise. The rail grinding was originally scheduled for April as part of our regular maintenance. Our rail grinding contractor is based in the U.S. and due to COVID-19 has been unable to mobilize in Canada. Our own grinding machine is currently undergoing repairs and is expected to be back in service in mid-July. It will be deployed immediately to sections of rail that are in urgent need of grinding.”

New West resident Chris Marsella recently launched the Stop Excessive New West SkyTrain Noise! petition on change.org.

“Please help me! The eastbound SkyTrain heading into New West station has become unbearably loud!” reads the petition. “We are calling on TransLink and New West city council to step up and repair this line ASAP! We're all home a lot more these days; New Westers deserve some respite from excessive noise.”

Ladrak said TransLink is also currently replacing tracks between 22nd Street and New Westminster stations as part of its maintenance and repair program.

“This involves replacing rail pads and running rail - much of this track is more than 30 years old and has carried more than 2 million trains since 1986,” he said. “This work too should mitigate the noise level in the area.”

The full text of the letter is below:

“Editor:

I write to address concerns about SkyTrain-related noise in New Westminster. We understand that urban noise can impact community well-being, and TransLink is working hard to address the issue.

This must be balanced with the need to reliably move thousands of people each day throughout the Metro Vancouver region.  

We will soon resume rail grinding in sections of New Westminster.

The rail surface can become corrugated or pitted after the repeated passing of train wheels, which is largely the cause of noise.   

The rail grinding was originally scheduled for April as part of our regular maintenance.

Our rail grinding contractor is based in the U.S. and due to COVID-19 has been unable to mobilize in Canada.

Our own grinding machine is currently undergoing repairs and is expected to be back in service in mid-July. It will be deployed immediately to sections of rail that are in urgent need of grinding.  

We are also currently replacing tracks between 22nd Street and New Westminster stations as part of our maintenance and repair program.

This involves replacing rail pads and running rail - much of this track is more than 30 years old and has carried more than 2 million trains since 1986.

This work too should mitigate the noise level in the area. Residents can continue to provide feedback through our customer service channels via phone or email when they experience exceptionally noisy conditions. Customer feedback is used along with measuring noise data to prioritize maintenance activities.  

Our goal is to keep the system safe and in a state of good repair, and this is especially important as our system ages. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience residents have been experiencing, and I assure you we are continuing our work to improve the rail condition. 

Michel Ladrak, president and general manager, BC Rapid Transit Company”

© New West Record

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