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why do they blow the horn so much


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#21 Railroad Bill

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 09:55 AM

On citty of new orleans. Gad, that horn has been blarring quite often. Night too. Is this a new rule or something?


We just completed a ride on the Crescent coming into New Orleans and was surprised that the engineer continuous blew the horn the entire length of the causeway from Slidell until we reached the city. I did not see any track work taking place which would call for that type of signalling?? And of course, there were no crossings in the middle of the Lake Pontchartrain :giggle:
Anyone know why the engineer did this??

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#22 Danial Tijuana

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:30 AM

Yeah ain't it the truth. Just glad I'm making my next night run from LA to Arizona. Lots of empty space out in the desert with only a few horns until we come back by the highways.
Onboard the Texas Eagle four years ago it was howling horns through all the little towns around Texarkana. We were right up front near the engine, too.
People who love trains as much as we do here tend to try and forget the ugly stuff like hard-to-walk shaking back-and-forth rough rails, and the blasting of horns at night, and the smell of diesel in the morning or anytime you finally get to step out for "a breath of fresh air"
Oh well, asi es la vida de un "foamer" yo creo ?o no?

Edited by Danial Tijuana, 06 May 2012 - 11:32 AM.

Passenger rail must be nurtured, not neutered...

#23 SarahZ

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:43 AM

I was thrilled when I found this apartment so close to the Amtrak tracks. When we were looking for a new place, I said I wanted to stay in this neighborhood and find something closer to the tracks. Our new place is practically on top of them. :-D I was pretty bummed when we didn't get the place where the train goes, almost literally, right through the backyard. That would have been cool.

It's to the point where I barely notice the train going by, and even when I do, I like it because it tells me what time it is (approximately).

Also, when the 9:50-ish Wolverine is delayed and it comes through at 11:00 PM or later, the engineers tend to keep the horn volume down. I always notice a distinct difference between the horn at 7:30 PM and the horn at 11:00 PM or later.

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#24 the_traveler

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 12:39 PM

We just completed a ride on the Crescent coming into New Orleans and was surprised that the engineer continuous blew the horn the entire length of the causeway from Slidell until we reached the city. I did not see any track work taking place which would call for that type of signalling?? And of course, there were no crossings in the middle of the Lake Pontchartrain :giggle:

Anyone know why the engineer did this??

Although there are (of course) no crossings in the middle of the lake, there may be some dumb people walking on the tracks across the bridge as a "shortcut" from one side to the other. That is why trains blow the horn at every bridge or tunnel along the route!
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Take the train instead!

#25 Shawn Ryu

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 12:55 PM

Personally I enjoy the horn blowing while I am on the train. Quite soothing.


At least for me. :giggle:

#26 leemell

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 01:50 PM

Yeah ain't it the truth. Just glad I'm making my next night run from LA to Arizona. Lots of empty space out in the desert with only a few horns until we come back by the highways.
Onboard the Texas Eagle four years ago it was howling horns through all the little towns around Texarkana. We were right up front near the engine, too.
People who love trains as much as we do here tend to try and forget the ugly stuff like hard-to-walk shaking back-and-forth rough rails, and the blasting of horns at night, and the smell of diesel in the morning or anytime you finally get to step out for "a breath of fresh air"
Oh well, asi es la vida de un "foamer" yo creo ?o no?


The cars swaying, the horn, the smell of diesel, that is what we ride the train for!

#27 jphjaxfl

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:13 PM

Train horns are some of the wonderful aspects of train travel, specially at night. I live close enough that I can hear the Star.Meteor and Auto Train blowing when they parallel US Highway 17. I'll be even closer when service on the FEC begins. The train horns are very comforting.

#28 AlanB

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:28 PM


We just completed a ride on the Crescent coming into New Orleans and was surprised that the engineer continuous blew the horn the entire length of the causeway from Slidell until we reached the city. I did not see any track work taking place which would call for that type of signalling?? And of course, there were no crossings in the middle of the Lake Pontchartrain :giggle:

Anyone know why the engineer did this??


Although there are (of course) no crossings in the middle of the lake, there may be some dumb people walking on the tracks across the bridge as a "shortcut" from one side to the other. That is why trains blow the horn at every bridge or tunnel along the route!


I think that there are often people who walk out along the causeway to fish off the sides of it, so the engineer ends up blowing the horn quite a bit on a busy day.
Alan,

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#29 pennyk

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:36 PM

Train horns are some of the wonderful aspects of train travel, specially at night. I live close enough that I can hear the Star.Meteor and Auto Train blowing when they parallel US Highway 17. I'll be even closer when service on the FEC begins. The train horns are very comforting.


I agree. I, too, can hear the Star and Meteor, but I am too far away to hear the Auto Train.

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#30 leemell

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 05:06 PM


Train horns are some of the wonderful aspects of train travel, specially at night. I live close enough that I can hear the Star.Meteor and Auto Train blowing when they parallel US Highway 17. I'll be even closer when service on the FEC begins. The train horns are very comforting.


I agree. I, too, can hear the Star and Meteor, but I am too far away to hear the Auto Train.


I'm within a half mile of the UP line in the San Fernando Valley and can hear the Coast Starlight, the Pacific Surfliners, Metrolinks and the occasional late night freight.

#31 keyman1202

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 05:13 PM

On citty of new orleans. Gad, that horn has been blarring quite often. Night too. Is this a new rule or something?




Laws laws ...regulations...stupid laws.. BECAUSE auto drivers now text and drive!!!! they are too stupid to know that a train doesnt stop because there are red lights at a crossing..! drivers are too stupid now to even notice when the stop lights turn green!! They just leave the intersection..because they are done texting.. i guess... We just beg the government to get involved.. and that is the last thing the country needs!!



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#32 me_little_me

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 05:52 PM

If someone does like the sound of the train horn at 2 AM, why did they move near the tracks? Most likely, the tracks (and crossing) were there prior to the people moving in!:rolleyes: That's like people who move next to an airport - and then complain about the jet noise!:rolleyes:

An apartment complex I am thinking about moving to is directly across the tracks from Portland's Union Station. In reading the reviews of the complex, there was one "Negative" that many people pointed out. That thing is "... the train horns and/or noise ..." at all hours! It seems that before moving in, they may have noticed that big building (that's been there for over 100 years), those traks between the complex and the station and the platforms! Yet, they complain about the train noise!:wacko: So why did they chose to move into that complex?:huh:

I don't get it!:blink: kj m

Same people that move out next to a farm to be "in the country" then complain about the smell of the farm animals.

#33 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 06:55 PM


If someone does like the sound of the train horn at 2 AM, why did they move near the tracks? Most likely, the tracks (and crossing) were there prior to the people moving in!:rolleyes: That's like people who move next to an airport - and then complain about the jet noise!:rolleyes:

An apartment complex I am thinking about moving to is directly across the tracks from Portland's Union Station. In reading the reviews of the complex, there was one "Negative" that many people pointed out. That thing is "... the train horns and/or noise ..." at all hours! It seems that before moving in, they may have noticed that big building (that's been there for over 100 years), those traks between the complex and the station and the platforms! Yet, they complain about the train noise!:wacko: So why did they chose to move into that complex?:huh:

I don't get it!:blink: kj m

Same people that move out next to a farm to be "in the country" then complain about the smell of the farm animals.

I was thinking the same thing. When I was 11 we moved to a neighborhood that was sometimes downwind of mushroom farms. We accepted that as part of living in what my mom called "the boonies" (the area had grown quite a bit since the last time they lived in the state so it really wasn't the boonies. In fact it was, and still is 40 years later, one of "the" places to live.

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#34 MiRider

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:24 PM



If someone does like the sound of the train horn at 2 AM, why did they move near the tracks? Most likely, the tracks (and crossing) were there prior to the people moving in!:rolleyes: That's like people who move next to an airport - and then complain about the jet noise!:rolleyes:

An apartment complex I am thinking about moving to is directly across the tracks from Portland's Union Station. In reading the reviews of the complex, there was one "Negative" that many people pointed out. That thing is "... the train horns and/or noise ..." at all hours! It seems that before moving in, they may have noticed that big building (that's been there for over 100 years), those traks between the complex and the station and the platforms! Yet, they complain about the train noise!:wacko: So why did they chose to move into that complex?:huh:

I don't get it!:blink: kj m

Same people that move out next to a farm to be "in the country" then complain about the smell of the farm animals.

I was thinking the same thing. When I was 11 we moved to a neighborhood that was sometimes downwind of mushroom farms. We accepted that as part of living in what my mom called "the boonies" (the area had grown quite a bit since the last time they lived in the state so it really wasn't the boonies. In fact it was, and still is 40 years later, one of "the" places to live.


In the same vein, when we were looking to buy our current home in Michigan, we were given a brochure from the Dept. of Ag that pretty much told us that if we bought where we were thinking of buying... we might smell POOP and see tractors and such.
No problem.
I miss hearing the trains in the night when we lived in Cedar Rapids, IA.
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That, along with the songs of my neighborhood birds is a beautiful way to start the day Posted Image



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#35 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:24 PM

If someone does like the sound of the train horn at 2 AM, why did they move near the tracks? Most likely, the tracks (and crossing) were there prior to the people moving in! That's like people who move next to an airport - and then complain about the jet noise!

I moved next to an airport because my job moved next to an airport. Thanks to complaints lodged by those who came before me there are now all sorts of rules and regulations that make living next to our airport much quieter and more enjoyable than it was in the past. Similar initiatives are being used to quiet busy rail corridors as well, which is especially helpful for people who can't afford to live in quieter more affluent areas far away from any major airports or railroad tracks. I never even knew there was a pro-noise movement until I came to AU.


An apartment complex I am thinking about moving to is directly across the tracks from Portland's Union Station. In reading the reviews of the complex, there was one "Negative" that many people pointed out. That thing is "... the train horns and/or noise ..." at all hours! It seems that before moving in, they may have noticed that big building (that's been there for over 100 years), those traks between the complex and the station and the platforms! Yet, they complain about the train noise!:wacko: So why did they chose to move into that complex?

So rather than being actual complaints these were reviews in which people merely warned prospective lessees about the noise in a review?


Same people that move out next to a farm to be "in the country" then complain about the smell of the farm animals.

My bloodlines came from ranching and farming. I found the smells of farms like ours to be quite agreeable, but today's farms are nothing like the farms we remember from our youth or that you see painted in children's books. The excessive crowding of livestock and the lack of proper waste management can create odors on a level far beyond what most people would ever expect to encounter in an otherwise rural setting. But hey, who cares about those crazy people with functional olfactory nerves, right?

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#36 kal-tex

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 09:49 PM

When I hear a train whistle in the distance, it seems to me that it is calling me to take my next trip!

#37 JayPea

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:29 PM


If someone does like the sound of the train horn at 2 AM, why did they move near the tracks? Most likely, the tracks (and crossing) were there prior to the people moving in!:rolleyes: That's like people who move next to an airport - and then complain about the jet noise!:rolleyes:

An apartment complex I am thinking about moving to is directly across the tracks from Portland's Union Station. In reading the reviews of the complex, thmere was one "Negative" that many people pointed out. That thing is "... the train horns and/or noise ..." at all hours! It seems that before moving in, they may have noticed that big building (that's been there for over 100 years), those traks between the complex and the station and the platforms! Yet, they complain about the train noise!:wacko: So why did they chose to move into that complex?:huh:

I don't get it!:blink: kj m

Same people that move out next to a farm to be "in the country" then complain about the smell of the farm animals.


In the rural county I live, our brochure for newcomers includes "warnings" about some aspects of the rural lifestyle, based on actual complaints from newcomers from urban areas. Smell from farm animals is among them. In our area, farms and farming practices, save for updated machinery, have changed very little over the years. Noise from animals is another complaint. I don't know what you do about that. :help:

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Noise and smells from farm implements (even though modern equipment is much better in that regard than in the past)

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#38 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:13 PM

Here are the two main items:

Sounding of the locomotive horn with two long blasts, one short blast and one long blast shall be initiated at a location so as to be in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section and shall be repeated or prolonged until the locomotive occupies the crossing.

and:

minimum sound level of 96 dB(A) and a maximum sound level of 110 dB(A) at 100 feet forward of the locomotive


You got a nice description there.

I live in Pittsburgh..hear train horns at least once an hour...gets annoying, but I'm use to it...


I have the same thing, but it's not exactly a big problem for me. I hear like TWO trains coming through each hour.

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#39 oldtimer

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 12:30 AM

Having in my career been on Amtrak trains even in the cab at times when 13 fatal crashes occurred, I wish that the horn was much louder and that the "No-Whistle Zones" were eliminated. It take a terrible toll on the crew when an injury or fatality happens. Amtrak currently offers the crew relief if they feel they cannot proceed after a fatal accident. I gave up counting the grade crossing accidents where there were no injuries. I have seen all kinds of accidents, from pedestrian to loaded semi dump trucks. The first was a fatality the dump truck ended up with 3 minor injuries in the cab of the engine. The two examples cited occurred at 79 mph.

I could tell you railroad stories from now until the next "Super Moon". No whistle zones do not stop grade crossing accidents, I even think that train vs pedestrian accidents increase. Just for the record I grew up within 75 feet of the PRR mainline on the south side of Chicago and currently live in a suburb serviced by Metra within 1/4 mile of a station and the horn is music to my ears.

#40 Trogdor

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 08:18 AM

Having in my career been on Amtrak trains even in the cab at times when 13 fatal crashes occurred, I wish that the horn was much louder and that the "No-Whistle Zones" were eliminated. It take a terrible toll on the crew when an injury or fatality happens. Amtrak currently offers the crew relief if they feel they cannot proceed after a fatal accident. I gave up counting the grade crossing accidents where there were no injuries. I have seen all kinds of accidents, from pedestrian to loaded semi dump trucks. The first was a fatality the dump truck ended up with 3 minor injuries in the cab of the engine. The two examples cited occurred at 79 mph.

I could tell you railroad stories from now until the next "Super Moon". No whistle zones do not stop grade crossing accidents, I even think that train vs pedestrian accidents increase. Just for the record I grew up within 75 feet of the PRR mainline on the south side of Chicago and currently live in a suburb serviced by Metra within 1/4 mile of a station and the horn is music to my ears.


Sounds like the answer is grade crossing separation, not louder horns.

I live in downtown Chicago, where we quite possibly have the loudest fire truck sirens/horns in the country. Despite this, people still act like the don't know what to do when they hear an emergency siren coming at them. I don't know what their decibel level is, but I have to plug my ears when they go by to protect my hearing. You can hear the siren from blocks away, but all that does is train drivers to ignore it until it's right on their ass because you can't tell if it's on your street coming at you, or two blocks over.

As for grade-crossing collisions, how many of them would really be avoided by louder horns? When someone's racing around the gates trying to beat the train, it isn't the loudness (or quietness) of the horn that's the factor, it's the (perceived) time savings that they will get by not having to wait for the train.

Even in quiet zones, the crossing gates have bells on them which alert people. Some even have smaller whistles attached to the gates themselves that blow when the train approaches, so the train doesn't have to use its whistle. I've never been at such a gate when a train has passed, so I don't know how they sound. However, I'd be in favor of some kind of advanced technology at the gates that makes the whistle sound louder as the train gets closer. Engineers are still allowed to blow their whistle, under any circumstance, if they feel that there is some safety-justified reason to do so. But that still requires the pedestrian to have their head out of their anal cavity, and not having a cell phone on one ear while plugging the other (to tune out the loud noise of the train coming by), or kids with really loud iPods and earphones, etc.

Trucks getting stuck on crossings because their trailer is too low...can't really help that with a horn (unless it's of just the right frequency to resonate with the trailer and the rails and allow the trailer to levitate just enough to...okay, not likely to happen). Then there are those who cross the tracks but can't clear due to traffic in front of them. That's just plain stupidity. Sometimes there's an intersection immediately after the crossing, and the traffic lights have not been programmed to link up with the crossing gates. Again, doesn't excuse poor driving habits (entering a crossing without being able to clear), but there are changes that can be done to mitigate that problem (like all directions changing to flashing red, except for the direction that's trying to clear the crossing, which gets a green so they can get the hell out of there).

Point being, with as loud as train horns are, people really have to try to not hear them, and the answer to that isn't louder horns, it's fixing the real problems (as varied and numerous as they are), because making louder horns will only drive more people to demand quiet zones (which you're not going to get rid of, no matter how much you wish), and make others find more ways to tune them out (which we're still not going to avoid).

At some point, doing something in the name of increased safety becomes counterproductive as people look for ways around it.
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