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Train Horn

Original post made by Sench on Nov 3, 2010

Why do the train drivers need to honk their horns SO MUCH! I understand that when approaching a crossing it is required but out in a field to warn the cows or whatever is out in an open field - I dont get it! It is open field near me by Castlewood CC. What could be out there????

Comments (29)

Posted by Reality, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Nov 3, 2010 at 8:43 pm

There is an at-grade crossing out by Castlewood. They are required by law to activate their horn - even if the chances there is a car at the tracks are remote at best.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm

My 2yr old loves it, honk away I say.


Posted by Citizen Jane, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Personally, I love to hear the train horn; makes me think of Johnny Cash. Or Reese Witherspoon. I know, whatEVER, but:

I hear the train a comin'
It's rollin' 'round the bend,
And I ain't seen the sunshine,
Since, I don't know when...

Hey, if you can't beat 'em, enjoy it. Or wear earplugs.


Posted by honky, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2010 at 9:27 pm

"My 2yr old loves it, honk away I say."

Yes, after all, that is what's important (to you). As long a your kid is having a good time then all is well in the world (for you).

You're kid probably gets thrills from a loud motorcycle engine revving while eating a nice dinner outside so I say 'let 'er rip!'.


Posted by Eddie C, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm

These train horns are not the romanticized nostalgic horns but modern higher decibel screechers.

They also obviously have nothing to do with the function of the train but are to tell people not to be where they shouldn't be in the first place. There are other better solutions for that. The modern ones are nothing but high decibel noise pollution.

The Castlewood crossing you refer to is a private at-grade crossing n the country club that no one is even around at night; no golfers, no staff.

Castlewood Country Club should just close it since they have a crossing on the street anyways; which is the only one golfers use for course play.

This would make it more enjoyable and peaceful for their golfers during the day and peaceful for the residents in the area at night.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 3, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Honky,
No, he likes looking at motorcycles, but hates the overly loud ones (as do I).


Posted by honky, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2010 at 8:58 am

Well, my dog just thinks it's the best thing ever so I'm all for them revving as loud as they want, even if we're not there to enjoy it, just on the off chance that we might be because it really gets him going. Oh,he just barks and barks - but I really like that too.


Posted by yaaa, a resident of Danville
on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:10 am

It is to warn people that a train is coming, ESPECIALLY considering the recent suicides on the train tracks, I would think that this town would appreciate the warning.


Posted by yooo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2010 at 11:28 am

just curious yaaa, how does the train horn prevent suicides?




Posted by I like the horns, a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 4, 2010 at 11:54 am

So why did you move out by train tracks??? or get sound proof windows. I hear the horns from the tracks along Stanley during the middle of the night...personally I love them - of course I grew up with the sound of them so they are "homey" to me.


Posted by yaaa, a resident of Danville
on Nov 4, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Doesn't prevent them but warns people they are coming. EVERYONE heard the train at Amador and if only people could have gotten out there earlier. Don't try and be a smartass about this, seriously inappropriate.


Posted by yooo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Just being a realist. The horns do not have a positive affect on suicides, in fact at least one article suggests that they may encourage suicide - linked here:

Web Link

For those who like the horns - OK, I can see that - during the day when you're awake - it might evoke a positive thought. At night, not so much, IMO.


Posted by jrm, a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I believe there are federal railroad transportation safety laws that dictate when and how long whistles are to be blown, I don't think the engineer has any choice.


Posted by yooo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2010 at 3:01 pm

here's the rules:

Web Link

short version is that there is a pre-set requirement, however, like most rules there are exceptions and ways to get exclusions.


Posted by Eddie C, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2010 at 9:33 pm

yaaa, a resident of the Danville wrote:"Doesn't prevent them but warns people they are coming. EVERYONE heard the train at Amador and if only people could have gotten out there earlier. Don't try and be a smartass about this, seriously inappropriate."

***

What? Run out to train tracks when you hear a train horn because someone might be committing suicide?

On the surface, that doesn't make sense. Perhaps, you meant something different. Without calling anyone a smartass, could you elaborate?

I don't see any correlation between tragic suicides and train horns.


Posted by cosmic-charlie, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 5, 2010 at 7:00 am

When I moved into my place here near downtown 20 years ago, the train whistles and horns seem to be blowing all the time. So I said to myself that I would like trains and all the noise they made. Much better than being disturbed by the noise wouldn't you think?

Eventually I just got to the point where I didn't notice them at all anymore. Now when they go by, I have to pay particular attention in order to conclude there's a train going by.

Of course, one of the big improvements they made was the replacement of the individual rail ties and rail bed with the new seamless rails . So the clickety-clack noise of the train has now been smoothed out to a high-pitched screech, not unlike the BART trains when going through the trans-bay tube.

"I hear that train a-commin'"


Posted by yaaa, a resident of Danville
on Nov 5, 2010 at 9:02 am

Students at Amador hear the train whistles all the time all day long. However last year at the end of the day, the train whistled for MUCH longer than normal and it was very obvious that something was going on. Obviously I am not advocating for everyone to run out on the tracks when a train whistles and I don't know why you would even say I was implying that. Because someone complained about train whistles on this thread, I mentioned that the train whistle was how we knew at Amador that something was going on on the tracks. It was a warning and if only we could have gotten out there earlier after hearing the extended whistle. People are so quick to take everything out of context on these threads sometimes without thinking, oh ya I could see how a whistle could also be a warning. If you weren't at Amador when it happened, you wouldn't understand apparently, so I'm not going to post anymore because stuff is just being taken out of context.


Posted by Rick, a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2010 at 10:33 am

please read this heart-wrenching newspaper article: Death by Train
Web Link


Posted by Mary, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 5, 2010 at 11:36 am

Uhhh... dont live by RailRoad Tracks... DUH! They obviously HAVE to use thier horn for a reason! sheesh.. it is a horn people that lasts about a minute or a little longer, if it is going to ruin your day or night MOVE!! or wear ear plugs!! sheesh!!


Posted by tango, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 5, 2010 at 12:01 pm

There used to be a train that came through Pleasanton at about 3:00 am . The engineer would push the horn button somewhere before Castle Wood and did not let off until he had passed on down the track to Livermore. Be glad someone put a stop to that. That was one long train whistle.


Posted by Eddie C, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm

yaaa, a resident of the Danville neighborhood wrote: "if only we could have gotten out there earlier after hearing the extended whistle."
***

Suicide is a horrible tragedy, but the only way anyone could have gotten to her earlier was way before she went out on the tracks.

Unfortunately, not even Usain Bolt cold have saved her after hearing the extended horn, recognizing it was an extended horn, deciding what to do and running out their as fast as he could. Train horns do not stop suicides.


Posted by yooo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2010 at 1:20 pm

yaaa, look, you made an uninformed comment - you're probably young so it can be forgiven. when challenged you said you'd not comment again and yet came back with yet another weak post. the point is when someone wants to commit suicide and they choose a train as their method no amount of honking will change that. if you have evidence otherwise please provide a link showing how a train honked it's horn and this somehow prevented a suicide. the horn may prevent accidents but suicides are another story. unless you can somehow save your original argument with evidence your two best options are to stay silent as promised or just admit that you are young and naive. class dismissed.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Siena
on Nov 7, 2010 at 6:40 am

Approaching crossings, the horn sequence is "Long, Long, Short, Long". These are federal requirements. There are other things that I won't get into here which are too complicated, but just as an example, when ACE stops at a station, it will blow the horn twice before moving to indicate it is going forward (three blows of the horn to back up). Why would they blow the horn in a field with no road crossings around? I can think of many reasons, but some of the more common ones would be: someone walking on or along the tracks with their iPod on and they don't hear the train coming, an animal on the track and the horn to try to scare them off (so that they don't squish a dog, cow, stray cat, or whatever), motorcycles of off-road ATV's have riders with helmets and loud engines, and it takes a long blow of the horn to get their attention. There are many more reasons, but the horn is used often for very good reasons. If you live near RR tracks, guess what? The tracks were there first, and you bought or rented your house knowing full well in advance that the train tracks were there. Those types of complaints make me laugh----what did you expect???


Posted by Eddie C, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2010 at 10:58 am

Joe, a resident of the Siena neighborhood wrote: "Approaching crossings, the horn sequence is "Long, Long, Short, Long". These are federal requirements."

****************


This is not true if you mean train horns are required at crossings. It is true if you are referring only to the pattern required by the feds WHEN (emphasized) a train horn is to be used at a crossing.

With proper federal approval of course:

No train horn is required at an at grade crossing that has a wayside horn system.

No train horn is required at an at grade crossing using a modern circuit quad gate system.

No train horn is required with medians on both sides of the crossing.

No train horn is required at an at grade crossing that has been separated; such as done on Bernal here or very recently at Washington Blvd in Fremont.

No train horn is required if the at grade crossing is closed.

As to the emergency use of a horn in case of trespasser or animal, I don't believe anyone has suggested the train horn not be used in those relatively limited cases.

For the problem the original poster referred to, there is an at grade private crossing on the Castlewood Country Club valley course just north of the public Castlewood Drive crossing that no one is around in the middle of the night.

The way it is set up currently, a train horn is required but as pointed out above there are many other options.

The cheapest of which would be simply closing the private crossing by the club. Closing the crossing would be to their benefit for golfing during the day and to the benefit of the nearby residents at night. The closing does not effect the course's layout and game play as only the public crossing is used for that purpose.

BTW, unlike downtown, there are no houses built next to that private crossing. There are neighborhoods to the north and east of the crossing. The sound of the modern high decibel horn is so loud, that at night, it can even be heard clearly up here by the Pleasanton Ridge. This is not the nostalgic old sound some people like, this is just blaringly loud and not necessary.


Posted by lauren Hiller, a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Nov 7, 2010 at 1:38 pm

really? you're erally complaining about the honking of a horn? for safety?

idiots!


Posted by Michael Leonard, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Michael Leonard is a registered user.

I asked two of our city council people if there were going to fund upgrades to the gates so that the trains would not have to sound the horn. One told me there were looking in to it and another told me people like the horns, which I think it nuts. I can hear these trains 1/2 a mile away through double pane windows. These are not a little steam engine tooting their horns.

I think the law requiring the sounding of the horn 4 times at each crossing is due to people ignoring the lights and bells and driving around the gates to beat the train. I wish that we had more enforcement and ticketing of these foolish people instead of the blaring of these loud and obnoxious horns.

I can't believe that people would guilt trip out the friends and school mates of a person who committed suicide by saying that they could have run and saved them. There is no way that anyone could have rushed in like superman and swooped the person up. All you are doing is making them feel worse and maybe your comments will result in someone getting hit by the train trying to save some one else.


Posted by Lisa, a resident of Mission Park
on Apr 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

I'm dredging up this old thread again. Last night the train woke me up at just before 1:00 am. I believe in safety and that it is necessary for them to toot the horn while approaching a road that crosses the track. However, I really believe the train engineer in this case was making an extra effort to be obnoxious. The horn was blasted in short, loud bursts for what must have been a few minutes straight. It was so loud that it sounded like he was driving the train down my street, which is a good mile from the tracks. Can't someone complain about this and only keep the amount of horn blasts down to the requirement by law? Neither me or my housemate could get back to a sound sleep for an hour or two after.


Posted by Ptown dad, a resident of California Reflections
on Apr 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I agree with Lisa. I hate to be the guy who buys a home by the freeway then complains about the noise but it seems unnecessary at that hour to blow their horn as frequently as they do through residential neighborhoods. Our 1 year old has woken up because of the train in the middle of the night and it can be a little frustrating.


Posted by jaycastlewood, a resident of Castlewood
on Aug 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Train Horn is way too much and will like to file a complaint. Anyway to do it? My house is pretty far away from the track but the horn is way too loud and way too much compare to my previous experience from other location which closer to the track/crossing. Only during the night time.

Can someone post the link to file the complaint?


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