The City of Merriam today activated the third and final wayside horn at the railroad crossing on Johnson Drive. The other two sound systems are located on Carter and 67th streets.
Wayside horns sound like a train horn, but the sound is condensed to a more localized area helping reduce noise pollution. The horns are mounted on poles at each railroad crossing and are pointed toward street traffic. There’s also a signal letting engineers know not to blow the train’s horn.
City Council agreed to purchase these wayside horns to help reduce train noise pollution in Merriam’s neighborhoods since more than 40 trains travel through the city each day.
Mayor Ken Sissom said it’s been a long time in the making and is excited the wayside horns are now a reality.
“Residents are always complaining about noise made by passing trains, and for years, we’ve had to tell people there is little that could be done,” Mayor Sissom said. “When City Council got the opportunity to become part of an effort to install the wayside horns in Merriam, we jumped at the chance. The reduced noise will definitely make our City a more pleasant place to work and live.”
A relatively new technology, the wayside horn concept was brought to Merriam City Council in June 2015 by residents who saw them in Marysville, Kansas. A month later, City staff visited Sabetha, Kansas to see firsthand how wayside horns work. Upon staff recommendation, the City in August 2015 began conversations with the BNSF Railway, Kansas Department of Transportation, and Federal Railroad Administration about the possibility of having wayside horns in Merriam.
The City installed the wayside horns this fall and is responsible for all maintenance. Mayor Sissom said residents should now be able to enjoy a quieter night thanks to the new horns.
How They Work:
The blinking red “X” means the wayside horns are working. This signal lets engineers know they don’t have to blow the train’s horn. When the system is inoperable – indicated by a solid red “X” – there is no danger to drivers because train engineers will sound the train’s horns. Sounding train horns doesn’t necessarily mean the system isn’t working as train engineers still have full discretion to blow the horn if they feel it’s necessary for safety reasons.