City officials in railroad towns across the country are eagerly awaiting permission to ban that lonesome whistle when the train comes through town. Anywhere lots of trains go through day and night, local officials are trying to do something about the noise while keeping safety paramount. Robert Albritton, sales manager with “Railroad Controls, Limited,” a firm that’s already tested its warning system in towns including Ames, Iowa, says most trains still abide by the old rule that they sound their ear-splitting horns a quarter-mile before any crossing of railroad tracks and streets or highways. He says his company’s engineers focus the sound along the road, not the surrounding neighborhood, by aiming horns down the road instead of using a train’s horn along the tracks. The Iowa test site has proved safe, and the city’s gotten permission to ban train whistles. All six of the Ames crossings on the main double-track line have the company’s new system. Local officials in Ames and other towns have told the company they’re satisfied the autmoated horn system is safe and effective, and Albritton says the only thing holding up its full implementation is the Federal Railroad Administration. The F-R-A, he says, is due out with a final ruling by late November or early December.
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