Railways in your Community

Railway

GO Transit supports safe and reliable train service through a variety of measures that range from trespassing prevention to ensuring vegetation doesn’t block train sightlines. Through GO’s Railway Corridor Management group we also work with the community on anti-whistling initiatives, removal of garbage, and graffiti management.

Train Bells and Whistles

Safety is our number one priority, and bells and whistles play an important role in helping to keep people out of harm’s way.

We need to follow specific safety rules set by the federal government, through Transport Canada, for sounding bells and whistles. Bells and whistles are used in different ways for different situations and the unnecessary use of them is not permitted.

While we do our best to be a good neighbour, if you live near a rail line, you can reasonably expect to hear some noise from train bells and whistles. If what you hear is different from what is described below, please contact us and we’ll investigate and let you know the reason why.

Elimination of Whistling at Public Crossings

According to Transport Canada, the introduction of anti-whistling measures depends on the railway design speed, what the crossing is used for, and the warning systems in place (i.e., flashing lights, bells, and gates). A municipality can request to eliminate whistling by contacting Transport Canada.

Vegetation and Trees on Tracks

Keeping GO-owned train tracks clear of brush and weeds is essential to rail operations, maintenance and safety. Vegetation-free track also allows for better visual inspections of track components by maintenance staff. We have a commitment to work with communities and stakeholders to ensure our vegetation management activities are in balance with our environmental obligations.

Trees growing within GO-owned corridors (i.e. between the railway boundary fences) are the responsibility of GO Transit, while trees growing next to the tracks are the responsibility of the property owner. All owners of trees have an obligation to manage trees on their property (or overhanging/leaning over property) to avoid danger on the tracks.

Graffiti

GO Transit is an integral part of the fabric of the communities that we serve. As such, we have a commitment to work with communities and stakeholders to ensure that the aesthetics of the railway corridors are maintained and that they continue to contribute to the vitality of the community.

Graffiti shall be treated as an act of vandalism.

GO Transit has collaborated with organizations, such as neighbourhood associations and BIAs on a variety of organized community anti-graffiti initiatives, including the creation of murals and other clean-up activities.

Graffiti Removal Priorities:

  1. Graffiti that impacts safety (e.g. graffiti on railway operating signs/signals);
  2. Graffiti that contains obscene or offensive content; and
  3. Graffiti on other railway infrastructure (e.g. signal bungalows and signal bridges, equipment buildings, etc.).

Unfortunately, the majority of graffiti along the GO owned train tracks occurs on overpasses/underpasses and private buildings, fences and other structures that are not owned by Metrolinx/GO Transit. Where possible, GO will work with property owners to manage graffiti on private property.

Fences

The installation and maintenance of fences is a key component of the larger safety strategy aimed at trespass and related issue prevention (vandalism, graffiti) on GO Transit-managed corridors.

Current fence types include: post-and-wire fencing (farm or highway fencing), chain-link fencing, expanded metal mesh fencing, high-security fencing, and gates.

We’re also looking into more natural barriers (i.e. shrubs and bushes) to limit access and deter trespassing. In some of the most urbanized parts of the GO Transit system, such as downtown Toronto, noise walls and crash barriers may be a substitute for fencing.

For all new developments next to GO owned train tracks, all costs for fencing are paid in full by the property developer. In the case of private fencing, the homeowner is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of fencing next to GO-owned train tracks.

Garbage and Debris

Throwing garbage onto GO Transit’s railway property is illegal, and poses a safety risk for our GO trains.

Semi-annual clean-up programs are scheduled for the spring and fall of each year. GO Transit also works with community groups on clean-up initiatives for remove garbage and debris next to our tracks.