Wayside horns are needed now

The midnight train to DeKalb is leaving and we’d like to go back and find a simpler place and time – one without noise pollution from trains.

The City of DeKalb announced last week it was delaying the installation of wayside horns, citing a delay in approval of the project from the Illinois Commerce Commission.


The wayside horns originally were intended to be functional by this winter, but the new deadline may be spring or summer 2006, City Engineer Joel Maurer said.

About 70 locomotive trains travel through DeKalb each day, each one bringing with it a loud burst of noise from its horn and screeching rail tracks.

Because it has become common in DeKalb to hear passing trains, the installation of wayside horns should not be delayed any longer.


Many residents of the downtown area and local businesses practically come to a standstill from the noise pollution, and the benefits clearly outweigh the $600,000 cost.

The horns, for example, were tested in May and were found to limit the sound of train horns to a four-block radius.


Once approved, they will be installed at four crossings and Sixth Street will be turned into a one-way northbound street with a full gate closure, Maurer said.

Locomotives will not have to blow their horns anymore once wayside horns are installed, Maurer said. Cars within 200 to 300 feet will hear the noise, but the sound will dissipate quickly.


The obvious reduction in noise pollution could spur residential and commercial growth in DeKalb’s downtown and it could once again become prosperous and populated.

It seems the looming bureaucracy of state government is at fault in the matter and alternatives should be explored to expedite the installation of the horns.


Much like being interrupted with useless words while reading this article, the residents and business owners of DeKalb are bombarded with useless noise every day.

The words themselves are stuck on the page and cannot be changed, but noise from the horns can.

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