Mr Robertson, take down this sign
This sign, and more like it, was put up by the City of Vancouver along the Arbutus Corridor, in anticipation of the resumption of rail traffic along the CP railway line.
This particular image was taken on King Edward Avenue eastbound, just west of Arbutus Street. There is a full set of railway level crossing signals here: no barriers, of course, because the frequency of trains when they were running was so low they were not needed. But CP is required by law to maintain the signalling equipment as long as they have not formally abandoned the track. So if there was to be a train, lights would flash and bells would sound. If the equipment is, in fact working, of which I have seen no evidence. When CP’s contractors were operating rail mounted equipment near other crossings, nothing happened. Nor were flag persons present
Anyway, since these signs first appeared, no trains have run. So the sign is not necessary. In fact, redundant signs tend to reduce compliance with signs in general. Which is not a Good Idea.
This image is taken looking south at the point where the line crosses King Edward. You will notice the post and sign in the middle of the tracks, put there by the contractor to show the limit of the refurbishment work they had performed. From here down to Marine Drive/Kent Avenue track had been lifted, ballst added and graded, ties replaced, level crossings cleaned and so on. From this point north, only some desultory vegetation removal – plus the enthusiastic destruction of community gardens – had taken place. But it is clear from the state of the track that it could not support train operation in its current condition.
At crossings south of this one, the flangeways have been cleared, and in some cases timbers inserted parallel to the rails to make subsequent cleaning easier. Obviously nothing was done here.
On the other side of King Edward the blackberries are returning.
From here northwards the track is once again dissapearing under the growth.
CP were bluffing. You do not need the signs: you can start with the ones one King Ed and work north from there confident that no trains will run. It seems pretty unlikely that they will to the south either, but theoretically they could. I doubt they will.
UPDATE May 7, 2016
The City of Vancouver announced today that they had finally got a deal with CP to take over the line and turn it into a Greenway: the potential for future light rail in the longer term is not ruled out.
Gary Mason of the Globe reveals how the deal was done
July 15, 2016
The City of Vancouver’s latest update on track removal and construction of the greenway
and more photos on my flickr photostream