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
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