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Sep 04, 2007

I’ve posted about wayside grade-crossing horns before, but in recent months I’ve noticed an uptick in news articles where the technology is being implemented or under consideration in several locations across the country.

This article from the Tacoma, WA News Tribune documents some of the issues on both sides of the debate to install wayside horns at a grade crossing in the town of Steilacoom. I say both sides because it seems that at least some residents want the locomotive horns to continue to blow:

Some townspeople don’t, and want the horns to continue blowing as much as possible in the state’s oldest town.

“To spend $130,000 or whatever to stop safety whistles is hard for me to fathom,” said Pat Haskett, an artist and seven-year Steilacoom resident, who added trains have been blowing whistles and horns in Steilacoom since 1914.

The article provides a nice graphic that shows very clearly the difference in sound levels between the locomotive horns and the stationary wayside horn.

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Commenting on my last post, Jeff Szymanski writes:

Reminded me of some things Les Blomberg had to say about the definition of “noise” in his ASA paper at the SLC ASA mtg. back in June. The gist of what he was saying was that noise is rarely “unwanted” sound. In many cases, he argued, noise is in fact something the noise producer wants. The motorcyclist wants a loud exhausts. The “boom car” fanatic wants to generate high levels of bass. Indeed, I believe it has even been argued (perhaps indirectly) that an owner of a factory wants machinery noise since it’s some sort of measure of how much money is being made.

I think your definition of “noise” being anything that’s audibly disruptive is much more in line with how Les wishes to redefine the term.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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