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Opinions: SkyTrain noise is 'grating' for Burnaby residents

Have you had problems with noise while riding SkyTrain? These folks have.
The noise of SkyTrain is "grating" for Burnaby residents, one letter writer says — but opinions on SkyTrain noise are still mixed. Photo temmuzcan/E+/Getty Images

We recently received a letter about excessive SkyTrain noise in Burnaby — and, wow, did it strike a chord. Here is a sampling of some of the responses we received:


The noise from SkyTrain has gotten worse over the last few years .I live near Rumble and Headly and the noise from the trains is deafening I do not see SkyTrain executives addressing the issue, We have seen no grinding or track replacement to minimize the noise issue despite public outcry. Please, SkyTrain officials, let's fix the problem!

Bob Ferris


I live 10 blocks from Metrotown SkyTrain Station. I wholeheartedly agree that the screeching noise from the SkyTrain is excessive and intolerable. I hear it all day 10 blocks away, even with my windows closed and a fan on. It wakes me up daily around 5 a.m.

There are also twelve major construction sites in a 10- block radius from me making this area the loudest and most stressful city I have lived in. I am a public servant and have lived in major metropolitan areas across Canada. I believe the train needs more maintenance than what it receives.

I also find the hours for construction, 7 a.m to 8 p.m. six days a week to be brutal. I've called the city to address both these issues and the lack of concern is insulting. A city representative told me the train noise is not their concern.

I raised the issue of noise pollution, and asked if they could measure the noise to see if it is acceptable. She chuckled and said there is no way the city has the time or resources for something like that. When I called about the construction noise, the representative told me that most people are working during the bulk of the construction hours so it shouldn't be an issue.

I am disabled and work from home. I called the city when one construction site was repeatedly working until 9:30 or 10 p.m. I confirmed there was no special permit in the area to work late. I asked for help finding the site and the representative said I would have to do my own survey of the area and find the exact address because they don't have the resources to find the offending site.

After informing her I am disabled, she confirmed I would have to walk around in the dark, with a cane, on streets that are not accessible due to construction, and find a street address on a site that may not show one. I've called the city a handful of times over the past five years and have received contrite, abelist and even snide responses from representatives who just want to get me off the phone. There is a major lack of empathy from the city concerning noise pollution and I really feel increasingly hopeless.

Brenda Dobson


I have a similar problem with the noise of the SkyTrain, and the train. I live at Royal Avenue and 10th Street, New Westminster, about three blocks away from the New Westminster station. I’m all the way up to the 20th floor. The noise is unbearable, even with the windows closed.

The rails have absolutely no kind of noise guard. Every now and then always during the night, they do some kind of maintenance on the rails with a machine that makes an unbelievable amount of noise.

But that’s still not the worst. On the Quayside, there’s a railroad crossing without barriers, and during the early hours of the morning every single day the train honks its horn repeatedly in rapid succession. This happens multiple times during the night.

Apparently they do so to warn passersby. But it’s making living impossible. There’s a whole article about it at the New Westminster City Council website, explaining that trains belong to the federal authority and making them stop whistling is not within their power. So, basically there won’t be any solutions in the near future.

Romina Ormeno


I live on Beresford Street, right across from the SkyTrain. I am affected by the noise of the SkyTrain, especially at night.

Some trains seem to be noisier than others … a loud steely, grating noise; I don’t know why this is the case.

I have a balcony that I do not spend any time on due to the excessive noise. I cannot have the windows open in the same room that I am in.

Trish Carruthers


I ride the SkyTrain frequently as I live close to Lougheed station. When I rode downtown on the Expo Line last Thursday evening, the noise was so loud that I had to cover my ears as it hurt. I noticed several others in the car doing the same thing.

On the way home, it was so loud that it was impossible to have a conversation with the person sitting beside me.

So this is not a case of NIMBY but a plea to TransLink to do the necessary maintenance on the SkyTrain tracks to reduce the noise.

Jan Radford


As feedback to your article about the SkyTrain noise level in Burnaby, my family and my neighbours in our townhouse strata on Rumble Street in South Burnaby have suffered the excessive noise of the TransLink SkyTrain for more than three years. Since the pandemic in 2021, when ridership dropped significantly due to public health orders, TransLink published acknowledgement of the lack of maintenance on the SkyTrain rails due to the grinding equipment being itself under maintenance. However, the SkyTrain noise has not seen any improvements since that letter in 2021.

I recently took a sound level measurement of the SkyTrain noise from the south sidewalk on Rumble Street, which is across the street from the SkyTrain guideway. I measured an alarming 88 dB, which is well in excess of the noise bylaw limits of Burnaby.

I have tried to email TransLink regarding the SkyTrain guideway noise, as did several of my neighbours. None of us received any responses from TransLink.

T. Leong


I totally agree that the noise from the SkyTrain is unacceptable, especially from the Expo Line, which is the line that I reside by and take on a daily basis.

TransLink is still using the original cars on the Expo Line, which was installed in 1986. These cars are so noisy that you can hear them coming from blocks away, and if you are riding them, you can't even carry on a conversation with the person beside you.

I have noticed that the few times I have taken the Canada Line to the airport, these cars are much much quieter. Is it because this is the line used by most tourists?

After all, first impressions are important, but a good night's sleep for the rest of us, not so much.

Douglas Barton


What I find interesting about the SkyTrain situation is that they are elevated on east side of Vancouver's Main Street and underground west of there, which indicates to me the lack of consideration the designers have of the neighbourhoods in the east.

Yes, they are very noisy. I recently visited my previous home of Sydney, Australia, and found the trains there very much quieter than the SkyTrain, and they have considerably larger carriages with many more joined together to form a travelling unit.

Dairobi Paul


I live in New West and we had the same problem, the train running around that big curve between 22nd and New West station. I know the city stepped in and TranLink spent months repairing the rails at night. There is much less noise now. Good luck.

Victoria Gilles


So only in Burnaby does the SkyTrain make noise? What about the police and fire trucks that don’t need sirens in the middle of the night? Though I guess this person must have been living there since 1985. If not, why would you move next to a SkyTrain. I call b***s*** that you can hear the train in an apartment with proper windows and insulation. Ear plugs?

Quinten Riley

📢 SOUND OFF: Are you affected by SkyTrain noise in Burnaby? What would you like to see done about it? Or is noise just the price you pay for living in an urban area? Share your thoughts — send us a letter.