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Raleigh residents grumble about trains' loud rumble

Posted May 4, 2009

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— Raleigh resident Daryl Grout said he has no place to escape when trains come rumbling down the rails blowing their horns near his home at West condominiums in downtown.

He and other residents have petitioned the city to silence the trains and institute a quiet zone at five intersections. The changes would cost the city $300,000-$400,000 per crossing zone, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Raleigh residents grumble about trains' rumble Raleigh residents grumble about trains' rumble

Grout organized a petition of hundreds of downtown residents and brought their concerns to City Councilman Thomas Crowder. Raleigh public works officials are investigating the issue.

"Hearing the train come by once in a while is one thing, but when they're laying on the horn it could be pretty disrupting," Crowder said.

Grout moved to the new West condos in October and said he has had to listen to freight and passenger trains’ loud horns at all hours of the day and night. The railroad is next to several new developments.

“Imagine an air horn in your ear. It’s extremely loud,” Grout said. “I’ve lived in cities my whole life and I’ve never had to deal with something like this."

Mike Kennon, manager of Raleigh transportation operations, said trains are required to blow their horns when approaching intersections. Creating a quiet zone at those crossings would mean adding new equipment to make the intersections safer, and would be costly to the city.

“These kinds of issues will come up as there are more people downtown living there 24 hours a day,” said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker.

Drew Thomas, a crossing safety engineering manager with the DOT’s railroad division, said the DOT can’t spend any money on the project. The city would have to apply to the Federal Railroad Association to create the quiet zone. The DOT would serve in an advisory role.

To create a quiet zone, one of the options is to build a four-quadrant gate that would deter people from running around the gates, similar to one at Blue Ridge Road and Hillsborough Street near the N.C. State Fairgrounds.

Charlotte and Greensboro city officials are also looking at creating quiet zones, according to the DOT.

Helen Kiser has lived off Capital Boulevard for 15 years and said she has no problem with the trains’ horns.

“You can hear it at night, and you can hear it in the daytime, and I love it,” she said.

Losing the horns would be like losing a piece of history, according to Kiser.

“That brings back so many memories and it's wonderful for our grandchildren to get a sense of what this country used to be like. That used to be the only way to travel,” she said.

For Grout, the historic nature of the horns is not enough to keep the sounds around.

“It's a new neighborhood. We have to transition from industrial to residential, so there will be some work that needs to be done and this is just one of our projects,” he said.


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  • foetine May 6, 2009

    The problem is that merely putting up those crossing guards won't matter when it comes to drunk college students and dogs roaming the track. They still have to honk that horn.

    Grout does need to yank his petition. he is the most annoying man in Raleigh.

  • slick rick da troll whisperer May 6, 2009

    "“Imagine an air horn in your ear. It’s extremely loud,”

    imagine a train running into the side of your car...that would be extremely painful.

    this is how i see it...first of all, the guy knew the train was there when he bought the place. who cares what he has to say about it now? the train blows their horn for safety. absent the train horn, safety devices, such as the 4 quadrant arm mentioned in the article, would have to be installed. if these people want to complain about something that was there before they were, they should have to fork out them money from their own pocket to create the quiet zone.

    personally, i hope the train hits the horn a few extra times for him tonight...he deserves the recognition.

  • cameragirl May 6, 2009

    The trains were there when he bought his place. He has no right to complain about them. The old adage "buyer be ware" holds true here. If the City Council gives in and spends taxpayer dollars to appease a group of people who purchased downtown condos then they must be corrupt. If it was going to be a problem then it should have been paid for by the developer or those who sign the pettion should be responsible for paying for it, not the over taxed tax payer.

    It amazes me that people move to a location and then complain about the noise. Just look at what RDU had to go through when property in the line of the landing field was developed. People complained. Stop complaining and check things out before you sign on the dotted line.

  • braddyg May 6, 2009

    I guess everyone doesn't understand...he paid almost $700,000 for a condo, the city and all the other degenerates who can't afford a 3/4 million dollar condo should have to bend over backwards to make him happy...

    It's too bad I can't type on GoLo what I've been calling this guy out loud.

  • FaceDown-AKA_Maggie May 6, 2009

    I lice by the train track, and I LOVE it! I have 2 little girls and they love to see the train pass by. Is comes through in the middle of the night sometimes, but it does not bother them. We really like to hear it!

  • keeprightexcepttopass May 6, 2009

    foetine: That was too funny!!!! Love it!!

    My brother used to work for the railroad. The engineers are not deliberately blowing their horns for extended periods. They are required by law to blow the horns at certain intervals at certain intersections, kinda like morse code (3 short blows, one long blow may mean this or that).

  • Like It TI is May 6, 2009

    I sincerely hope the City of Raleigh, the DOT, nor the Federal Railroad Administration gives in to these ridiculous requests. I might be understanding if the tracks were just laid down, but they've been there for over a century. Don't move close to tracks if you don't want to hear train whistles. These trains are part of the commerce system for the city and state. Plus, the whistles are for safey. Suck it up or move. It's a simple as that.

  • PaulRevere May 6, 2009

    I wonder if Grout is complaining that the water coming from the pipes is "too wet"?

  • sondrajarvis May 6, 2009

    The trains have been running there a lot longer than that "neighborhood" (too expensive condo) has been. He should have thought of that before buying there.

  • foetine May 6, 2009

    Daryl Grout was upset about all the noise the storm yesterday. He wants Mayor Meeker to make a "quiet cloud zone" so his condo doesn't have to experience thunder and the chance of that train sound made by tornados.