Merriam residents living along two railroad crossings will soon notice a significant reduction in train noise pollution. BNSF Railway is expected to activate wayside horns on Dec. 6 to let drivers know when trains are coming at railroad crossings on Carter and 67th streets.
Wayside horns sound like a train horn, but they are mounted on 14-foot poles at each railroad crossing and are pointed down streets toward traffic. The sound is condensed to a more localized area helping reduce noise pollution. There’s also a signal letting engineers know not blow the train’s horn.
Federal law requires horns to blast sound at least 20 seconds before a train approaches a public road and through the crossing. Once the wayside horns are activated, only these horns should be routinely sounded at those crossings and not the train’s horns, though engineers have full discretion to blow their own horn if they feel it’s necessary.
The railroad crossing at Johnson Drive also has wayside horns, but it won’t be activated until next year due to additional testing needed.