Blame the late-night noise on regulations, says Gary Sease, a spokesman for major freight carrier CSX.
“In general, trains blow horns at crossings and in certain other situations as required by federal regulations,” Sease says in an e-mail response to the question.
At a crossing, Sease says train crews sound the horn in a prescribed sequence – “two long sounds, one short, followed by a long.”
“The horns are for the safety of motorists and pedestrians,” Sease says.
Some communities have worked through the Federal Railroad Administration to gain approval for “Quiet Zones,” in which trains do not blow horns at crossings so designated, Sease says.
Those crossings generally must have special equipment, such as four-quadrant gates, which effectively seal off the crossing and prevent motorists from driving into the crossing. Other crossings have barriers to keep drivers from
pulling around stopped traffic and proceeding through the crossing.
“This special equipment can be costly,” Sease says.
For more information on the FRA Train Horn Rule, go to www.fra.dot.gov/us/Content/1318
Date posted: February 15, 2010
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