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posted: 7/29/2014 5:01 AM

Train engineers not 'whistle happy'

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As a locomotive engineer, I take exception to the July 21 column "Quiet zone might be answer to horn problem" by Marni Pyke, specifically her comment: "But at least Bensenville residents living or working near the Milwaukee District West Line will get a little relief from whistle happy engineers."

"Whistle happy"?

Locomotive engineers are required by federal rule and enforced by rail carriers to sound their horn when approaching public road crossings at grade unless prohibited otherwise by quiet zones. With 20 years of experience, I can attest to the fact that locomotive engineers are anything but whistle happy. The romanticism of a lone train whistle blowing through the night wore off a long time ago for most of us and merely equates to nothing more than nonstop, but necessary, noise for us as well. In other words, we don't sound the horn any more than what's required.

Please remember this the next time you hear a train whistle blowing for a crossing. We're simply doing what the federal government and the carrier requires us to do -- our job.

Mark Kaspar


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