Arkell residents rail against Guelph Junction Railway

ARKELL – While a train whistle can be charming and nostalgic off in the distance, the noise from the Guelph Junction Railway has become a constant problem for those living in Arkell, says a local resident.

Bruce Taylor wrote a letter to Puslinch council that was discussed on March 3 and he spoke to the Advertiser on March 22 about  his concerns, which he says are shared by everyone who lives near the tracks, which in Arkell is almost everyone.

“It’s unique that the City of Guelph owns the railway, but there’s no benefit to Puslinch having it cross through here,” Taylor said.

In Arkell, the train crosses Carter Road, Arkell Road, Watson Road South and Hume Road, and because there are no crossing gates, the train must sound its whistle at each crossing.

This happens all the time, Taylor said – early in the morning, late at night, throughout the week and weekend.

On March 3, the whistle blew at 12:35am, he said. On March 4 it went off at 1:25am.

“I was talking to someone on Carter Road who is afraid to invite her grandchildren to sleep over because the train will wake the kids,” he said.

The other problem is the location of the siding, which is just off Arkell Road at the tracks.

Taylor said the activity at the siding has increased in the past year and peaked last month.

He said the siding area is too small for the amount of activity at the site.

Arkell resident Bruce Taylor says the railway crossing at Arkell Road is also a problem because the siding area, above, is too small for the amount of activity at the site. Photo by Joanne Shuttleworth


On March 7, a Sunday, Taylor said a train needed to change the order of the train cars it was pulling and had to cross Arkell Road six or seven times to make the switch.

“They essentially closed Arkell Road for 24 minutes,” Taylor said, adding road traffic “didn’t know what to do.

“Transport Canada says roads should be closed for five minutes max unless they are towing a long train.”

At the March 3 meeting, councillor Jessica Goyda, who lives in Arkell, agreed with the complaints outlined in Taylor’s letter.

“It seems the train is operating late at night and early morning,” Goyda said.

“I’d like to negotiate to reduce those hours. And the loading station – this is a fairly new issue.”

She added, “It’s significant and very loud. There’s a humming noise that vibrates the house.

“And it happens every couple of days and lasts for hours.”

Council passed a resolution for township staff to liaise with Guelph Junction Railway and City of Guelph staff to come up with a solution.

On March 22, Taylor said a committee consisting of five residents and staff has been formed and they will begin to meet regularly.

At the March 24 council meeting, CAO Glenn Schwendinger said he’s lining up a meeting with Guelph officials in the next week or so and will bring an update to council on how negotiations are progressing.