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As a backbone of the North American economy and a company focused on safely delivering our customers’ shipments on time, CN operates the railroad 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We understand noise and vibration can result from our trains running on our tracks as well as from other machines we use to carry out essential maintenance and repairs. While we cannot eliminate this noise and vibration from our rail operations altogether, reducing noise and vibration is one of our top priorities.

We are constantly working on noise reduction solutions. This is even more important today as many municipalities expand ever closer to railway tracks and CN is carrying more freight to meet global shipping needs.

To help reduce the impact of rail noise and vibration on local communities, CN’s Community Planning and Development department:

  • Provides relevant information to land-use decision-makers.
  • Helps ensure any development adjacent to a railway corridor or rail yard implements noise and vibration mitigation measures. These include building setbacks, safety guardrails, acoustic barriers, security fencing and vibration isolation.

We encourage anyone considering a development project near CN infrastructure to contact us. Our team of experts is available to help you with your development plans.


Joint efforts with the following organizations have led to much progress in this area:

  • Railway Association of Canada
  • Federation of Canadian Municipalities
  • Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators

CN works with these organizations and others to prevent and resolve issues that may arise when people live and work near railway operations. By developing proximity guidelines and improving stakeholder awareness, we aim to address railway-community issues, including land-use compatibility, drainage, safety, noise and vibration.

Preventing proximity issues is a shared responsibility. For more information:


Train Whistling

While we understand that whistling may be disturbing at times, federal regulations in the U.S. and Canada mandate whistling at all public crossings. Train whistles are safety devices that alert motorists and pedestrians to the presence of an approaching train. Locomotive engineers follow a detailed set of instructions that outline when a whistle must be sounded and the whistling sequence to be used. Train crews will also use the whistle if there is a work project in the area to notify the work gang on or near the track that a train is approaching. Horns also can be used if there is a trespasser on the tracks.

In certain circumstances, a crossing may be exempt from whistling requirements. In Canada, the complete application procedure to pursue anti whistling measures may be found on the Transport Canada website at under Rail Safety.

In the United States, further information on the process surrounding the establishment of Quiet Zones can be found on the Federal Railroad Administration website.

Train Idling

CN crews are trained in fuel conservation practices to reduce our carbon footprint, including locomotive shutdowns in our yards. However, locomotives may need to be left idling due to various operating requirements such as weather and the need to maintain air pressure for braking and starting systems.

Should you have any further concerns with these matters or any other aspect of CN’s operations, please contact the CN Public Inquiry Line at 1 888 888 5909, or via email. A representative will follow up with the appropriate personnel regarding your concerns.