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Rail News: Passenger Rail

LIRR to quiet train horns


In response to residents’ complaints, MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is amending its operating rules and seeking two federal waivers to reduce train horn noise in certain situations.

Trains will no longer sound their horns when passing stations without stopping during morning and evening rush hours. Engineers will only sound the horn when they see someone standing too close to the edge of the platform. LIRR also will install a muffling device in its M-7 electric trains to direct horn sounds forward rather than to the sides.

In addition, the agency is seeking permission from the Federal Railroad Administration to return to its former practice of sounding one short horn blast when trains departs from a station located within 50 feet of a crossing. Since 2005, the FRA has required engineers to sound two long blasts, one short blast and one additional long blast at all public crossings.

LIRR also is seeking a federal waiver to lower the FRA’s minimum 96-decibel horn level on its electric fleet.