Cramahe Township shares a problem with all the municipalities in the south end of Northumberland County. The rail crossings in the township are regularly in need of repair.
Cramahe resident, Donald Maybin brought the problem to the attention of Cramahe Council on February 16 and it seems as though he has some agreement. The Simpson Rd resident has done some research with the assistance of former municipal politician, Ted Pedlar. Mr. Maybin is concerned primarily with four roads which are more densely populated south of the tracks.
He has observed that the crossings are repaired on a demand basis. The repair has been spotty and inconsistent, deteriorating quickly.
Councillor Pat Westrope agreed, noting that on Peters Rd. where she lives the crossing has been repaired twice in five years.
Councillor Ed Van Egmond farms south of the tracks and has come close to losing hay when crossing.
Mr. Maybin approached Brighton, Alnwick/Haldimand and Cobourg to see what they are doing.
The neighbouring municipalities of Alnwick/Haldimand and Brighton have both purchased rubber matting which the rail companies have installed at some crossings. And the County of Northumberland has installed one in Lakeport. The problem is that they are expensive - $25,000 for a two-line crossing. He acknowledges that $100,000 is a lot of money for the township to fork out for rail crossings, but suggested to council that it phase in the addition of the rubber mats.
The mats appear to be a better solution than the current method of replacing the ties and hot patching the edges of the track. Public Works Director, Barry Thrasher explained to council that the trains create vibration which in turn causes wear on the ties and adjacent road materials. The township is not allowed to repair the portion of road adjacent to the tracks.
There seemed to be agreement on council that the township should move in the direction of finding a suitable solution. Councillor Westrope says the township needs to get started.
The concern was expressed about the money already forwarded to the rail companies to pay for maintenance. That money is used largely for the monthly electronic-signal checks. Councillor Tim Gilligan wondered about the idea of withholding the maintenance money.
Due to the cost of rubber matting, it will be some time before the residents of the township see any improvement. Under the rules governing the upgrades, the municipality pays for the materials and the rail companies install them.