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Train Horns

June 28, 1998

I live in the southern part of Glendale and frequently drive on San Fernando Road, next to the busy Southern Pacific railroad tracks. Recently, as I was sitting in heavy traffic, a Metrolink train sped by. I was a bit startled because I never heard it coming. This prompts me to wonder why the warning horns on the Metrolink trains are so much quieter than those on the other trains that run along these tracks.

Even with my car windows rolled up, I can hear the freight trains and Amtrak passenger trains whistling three or four cross-streets away; you can certainly tell a train is coming! But from a fast-approaching Metrolink train I usually hear nothing more than a faint "toot-toot" just as the train is passing. Sometimes I hear no horn at all. The warning horns on the Metrolink trains sound more like a child's scooter than a multi-ton speeding locomotive. Perhaps these inaudible horns have something to do with the frequency of Metrolink train accidents. Why aren't Metrolink trains required to have the same attention-getting horns that the other trains have? (They hit just as hard!)

PETER O'DELL, Glendale

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