Horns will sound at crossings

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 25, 2005

Beginning today, train horns once again will be sounding at railroad crossings in Suffolk.

The city is one of 13 in the state where locomotives will begin blowing their horns at all crossings. Until now, trains passing through Suffolk were only required to blow their horns at crossings that did not have signals or gates.

The new Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) ruling, which goes in place nationwide this morning, is designed to improve safety at rail crossings.

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Ironically, the policy is going into effect just three days after a CSX freight train slammed into a dump truck that failed to yield at a crossing off Portsmouth Boulevard. Although the vehicle was broken into two pieces, the 42-year-old driver escaped serious injury in the collision.

The train did sound its horn as it approached the crossing, which was marked with a sign, police said.

The FRA will allow the 13 Virginia cities that already have established quiet zones around gated crossings to request that those whistle bans remain in place.

The Suffolk City Council will decide whether to ask the FRA to keep those zones in place at the city’s 15 gated crossings, said Dennis Craff, the city’s spokesman.