Almost everywhere else in the country, train horns blare before the crossroads.
It doesn’t matter if there are gates or not.
During the Clinton Administration, his Federal Railroad Administrator decided to make train horns blow all over the country.
I went ballistic.
We live well over a mile from Crystal Lake’s main line, but on moist nights I can hear the trains’ engines when they are started up each morning. At least there are not horns blaring every time a commuter or freight train comes through town.
The situation is better than it was in the 1970’s when I lived in an Elmhurst Street apartment. Then, the trains ran all night in the winter.
Boy, did that take some getting used to.
Back in the mid-1990’s, I did everything I could to mobilize Illinois congressmen against the mandatory horn blowing rule I knew a number of them at the time. I even tried to pass a resolution urging Congress to prohibit it. That stalled in committee with Lake Forest’s Democratic State Rep. Susan Garrett refused to vote for it.
The argument for horns was that fewer people would be killed, but there was a crucial missing part of the fed’s study. I’m a bit shaky on what it was, but I think the study did not take out suicides from its totals.
It also did not estimate how many more people would be killed from vehicle accidents because people were much more tired than they would have been had no horns awakened them.
Just poor methodology that my one course in the subject make abundantly clear.
And, looking at the race between the Indiana mom and the train in Hammond that was on TV Thursday night, I would suggest that people should not be woken up at night because of sheer stupidity that results in train crash deaths.
I remember the Chicago metropolitan area ones got the FRA administrator, a woman whose name I am happy to forget, to testify in eastern DuPage County.
When I got to testify, I asked for her home phone number.
She wanted to know why.
I told her it was because when my constituents called me, I was going to call her.
She refused to give it to me.
I told her I’d get it one way or another if she succeeded in forcing train whistles in my district.
You should have seen the look on her face.
She clearly thought I was nuts.
But, she and the congressmen there got an idea of how intense the pressure would be if the horns started blowing again.
I have to say that the Republican congress (with help from Illinois Democrats who had plenty of grade crossings in their districts) won the day.
Which, finally brings us to a Chicago Tribune story by Robert Channick, published earlier this month.
Because there is no grade crossing on Route 176, the McHenry commuter trains blow their horns every time they approach it.
Read the November 30, 2005, authorization letter here.
One of McHenry County Blog’s earliest storiesAmazingly enough, gates had already been installed in McHenry on Bull Valley Road, a much newer and, I suspect was then a less traveled road. (You can read the traffic counts I discovered then here.)
He didn’t and they still aren’t installed.
People, including the pictured Justine Runvik, on Crystal Lake’s Glen Avenue are complaining.
The Tribune article says they will be installed this fall.