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Why does the train whistle blow so much in the early morning hours in Wilmington?

Ken Little
CSX train

A CSX train waits at a crossing. (StarNews file photo)

Federal law mandates that freight train horns be sounded at all crossings to alert the public. There are no passenger trains in Wilmington.

Some nights it may seem that the blare is constant, but it just depends on when trains are running, CSX spokeswoman Carla Groleau said.

“Freight trains are not on a fixed schedule. The bottom line is it’s an important part of our safety practice and it’s the law,” Groleau said.

Not doing so results in violations and fines, she said.

Horns are sounded when a train is moving or in an emergency situation, she said.

“We have to sound horns in certain patterns or lengths,” Groleau added.

CSX trains use more than 1,000 miles of railroad track in North Carolina. There is a CSX terminal in Wilmington. The company maintains more than 2,500 public and private grade crossings in the state, Groleau said.

CSX ships more than 867,000 carloads of freight each year in North Carolina, so sounding horns “is an integral part of our safety practice,” Groleau said.

There were 1,924 highway-rail grade collisions in the U.S. in 2009, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. North Carolina had the 11th-highest state collision total, at 55.

For more about rail crossing safety, go to http://www.oli.org/

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2 Responses to “ Why does the train whistle blow so much in the early morning hours in Wilmington?”

  1. On March 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm Phoebe Tseh wrote:

    The horn from the train wakes my family and many of my neighbors 3-4 times per night. Sometimes for 30 minutes each pass. I would like to find out how Wilmington can become a quite zone like Sussex, WI. See full article below. I am not sure how to even start this request and hoping you can help me.


  2. On March 8, 2011 at 5:40 pm Phoebe Tseh wrote:

    According to the Federal Railroad Administration both New Burn and Rocky Mount are quiet zones and many citys across the country.


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