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Trains get OK to silence whistles

Trains crossing Forest Glen Road just north of the Capital Beltway in Silver Spring will no longer be required to blow their whistles as of Monday, when the area becomes the first in Maryland designated as a "Quiet Zone." Nearby residents fought for the designation for 10 years, saying they needed noise relief.

The Federal Railroad Administration recently made the designation after Montgomery County implemented required safety improvements for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. County officials said lighting and signs near the crossing have been improved, and a median barrier was installed to prevent motorists from driving around the gates that lower when a train is approaching. A new sidewalk also is being planned near the tracks.

Trains have been required by federal law since 2005 to sound their horns at highway crossings, though residents in the Rock Creek Hills neighborhood in Kensington have complained about the noise since 2000, county officials said.

About 60 trains -- CSX, Amtrak and MARC trains -- pass through the area daily, officials said. Two-lane Forest Glen Road carries an average 4,000 vehicles daily near the crossing. Train whistles are still permitted in emergencies.

-- Katherine Shaver

By Michael Bolden  | October 27, 2010; 2:53 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland, Transportation News  
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Comments

From Dr. Gridlock: I completely understand how people who live close to the tracks feel about this, but I'm going to miss the engines' moans.

The train whistles reached out in the night to those of us who live a couple of miles away from the tracks. From that distance, it was a soothing sound, with a bit of mystery wrapped in.

Posted by: Robert Thomson | October 27, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

There are a couple of these quiet zones in Hagerstown, so this is hardly the first in Maryland.

Posted by: ceebee2 | October 27, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Please!!

Trains have not had "whistles" since they switched from steam to diesel-electric locomotives. Trains blow their "horns."

Think this is a minor point?

You're being about as accurate as to say that a Boeing 747 has propellers.

Posted by: kjclark1963 | October 27, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

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