THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Tales from the old-timer
Train Whistle Complaints
Once again the hullabaloo against train whistles has erupted in Marinette, so Here we go again! Engineers are required to sound their horns in advance at each grade crossing, two short and two long whistles. The purpose obviously, is to warn vehicle traffic that a train is coming. To require the railroad engine to halt at every crossing as cars do at intersections would not do, as trains a half mile or longer would tie up streets far removed. A few years ago Iron Mountain got tough about train whistles, and a carload of women shoppers from out of town were killed at a city railroad crossing in 1946.
Our house in Peshtigo when I was a kid was only about 200 yards from the tracks of the Chicago and Northwestern line and we were used to the lonesome wailings of the trains in the night time. We were used to the hoarse bellowing of these dinosaurs in the night time. This meant to us that all was well, the world was on a predictable course and we were safe at home in our warm beds and we could sleep on, through the deep nighttime, even though the whole house trembled as the thousands of tons of freight rolled by.
We hear the diesel horns out here on Dahl Road in the Town of Peshtigo at all hours of the day and night, even at 5 AM. We are less than a mile from the tracks. When the economy is booming rail traffic is at a high level.
Rail transport by freight has about a 10 to 1 advantage over heavy truck transport, with one engineer and conductor handling trains sometimes a half mile or more in length, with a 5,000 horsepower diesel engine doing the work.
My mother came from Channing, Mi., about 25 or so miles north of Iron Mountain, and all the men in the family were railroaders, and railroading was the lifeline of that little town on the Milwaukee Road. Nobody complained about train whistles in Channing. It would have been like complaining about the long-awaited high line that brought electricity, that made the old kerosene lamps obsolete.
These complaints about train whistles remind me of people near large airports complaining about big jet airliners racket as they flew over the homes that lie in the landing zone path, and wanting to bring a halt to the noise the airplanes create.