Silencing the Train Horns

WILLIAMSPORT -- After years of trying to quiet their neighborhood, people in a section of Williamsport are thrilled to see "no train horn" signs near their homes.

By law for years, train engineers who crossed the tracks in this stretch in Williamsport needed to blow the train's horn.

Because of complaints from neighbors like Vinny Walker, this is now officially a quiet zone.

"That's the most important one -- no train horn," said Walker.

Thanks in part to the city of Williamsport SEDA COG Joint Rail Authority, the owners of the railroad have added more gates and safety features to this crossing and the one on Arch Street.

It means by law when they pass Howard Street or Arch Street, train engineers won't have to blow the horn at all.

"I'm glad," said Walker. "It's been a long process but it's worth it, I guess, now that we've got it."

Neighbors are happy to see the changes to the railroad crossing. Right down the road, there's another project people aren't too pleased to see.

"For right now this is considered the closed crossing so they are not supposed to do it as they come through here," said Mandy Bair.

Part of setting up the quiet zone included the closing of a crossing on Depot Street. This crossing has been closed to traffic since late March.

"It can be loud," said Bair. "You know it's the train tracks, it would be like living near the airport."

The trains never bothered Mandy Bair who lives on Depot Street. She's upset drivers and emergency workers don't have access to the road near her home.

"At the one meeting in the fall, it said that if it was a safety concern.They said they weren't going to close it and the police and the fire both said, 'Oh, it's a safety concern. Don't close Depot Street,' and they did anyway."

SEDA COG Joint Rail Authority has been working on several improvement projects in the city this summer.

As for the crossing, it's now officially a quiet zone in Williamsport.

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