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Question about rules for horn usage at grade crossings

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  • Member since
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  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Sunday, September 25, 2022 5:01 PM
Which is why I have not once mentioned "PRIVATE" crossings, only public. I cited an FRA post saying the horn must be sounded at all PUBLIC crossings. Please provide a link to an FRA or other government agency saying "No, you really only have to blow the horn at a PUBLIC crossing if the railroad has put up a whistle board". As I said, I lived for over 40 years across the street from a railroad line that runs through Richfield, MN. If you go to Google Maps and look it up, you will see the north-south railline crossing 76th, 73rd, 70th, 68th and 66th streets. All of those are PUBLIC roads. Every train ever crossing those street sounded the required horn or whistle warning. Yet the line has not to my knowledge ever had a single whistle board.
Stix
  • Member since
    April 2001
  • From: Roanoke, VA
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Posted by BigJim on Monday, September 26, 2022 11:01 AM

wjstix
Please provide a link to an FRA...


I don't have to prove anything to you!
After 40+ years in T&E service I/WE never blew for a private road crossing! That is unless we thought that we needed to stir someone's attention. AND, never had an FRA inspector say anything to us!

.

  • Member since
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  • From: Danbury Freight Yard
  • 375 posts
Posted by OldEngineman on Monday, September 26, 2022 9:49 PM

Agree with BigJim.

Although you weren't required to sound the horn for private crossings, if I saw someone coming and they were relatively close, I'd sound the horn anyway to try to warn them.

I think most engine guys would do the same.

  • Member since
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  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 8:46 AM

...and again, that's why I was only talking about PUBLIC road crossings. NOT PRIVATE. I don't know why folks seems so confused about what I'm saying.

FRA rules say the horn must be sounded at every PUBLIC CROSSING unless it has been designated a quiet zone. So that's a federal requirement. That seems to agree with my experience. Railroads always blow the horn at the public crossings I've lived by even though they don't have whistle boards.

Someone else says no, that's wrong, the engineer only has to blow the horn if the railroad has installed a whistle board. No whistle board, no requirement to blow the horn, regardless.

If that is true, it should be easy to show a government rule or regulation saying that every PUBLIC grade crossing where the horn must sound must have a whistle board, and the horn is only required to be sounded at those crossings so marked. However, I suspect whistle boards are installed voluntarily by railroads as a reminder to engineers of an upcoming grade crossing where they must sound a warning, particularly where the crossing may be hard to see, like around the end of a curve. 

I suppose a railroad could choose to put up a whistle board at every public crossing that required a horn to sound, and then put it in their rulebook for employees that you only blow the horn when there's a whistle board. But that doesn't make it a federal requirement that the horn only has to be sounded if there's a whistle board at the grade crossing. It would just be a railroad rule.

Stix
  • Member since
    April 2001
  • From: Roanoke, VA
  • 1,962 posts
Posted by BigJim on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 3:21 PM

Every public road crossing, with the exception of "quiet zones", that I ever crossed had a whistle board. If you don't see one, maybe you didn't look far enough. Or, as I said before, there may be a rule in the "Empolyee's Timetable" that concerns the matter.
"Then put it in their rulebook"? Ha! You sure don't know a lot. That rule has been in the books for ages!

.

  • Member since
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  • From: Omaha, NE
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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 7:43 PM

As long as you are bringing up the rules, the GCOR requires the whistle to be blown at public crossings (except in Calif. & Montana where it is blown at ALL crossings.)

The GCOR says that at locations where whistle signs are located the horn is blown regardless of the type of crossing it is.

The whistle must be blown at all public crossings regardless of whether or not there is a whistle sign.

The whistle must be blown at all crossings where there is a whistle sign regardless whether it is public or private.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
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  • From: Roanoke, VA
  • 1,962 posts
Posted by BigJim on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 9:56 AM

Not every RR uses the GCOR. The N&W didn't. Yes, a "whistle board" is a "fixed signal" and must be complied with.

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  • Member since
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  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, September 29, 2022 2:29 PM

BigJim
"Then put it in their rulebook"? Ha! You sure don't know a lot. That rule has been in the books for ages!

Just as a reminder, what I said was:

"I suppose a railroad could choose to put up a whistle board at every public crossing that required a horn to sound, and then put it in their rulebook for employees that you only blow the horn when there's a whistle board."

Since you're saying that there are railroads that have done that (and have done it 'for ages'), please provide documentation of a railroad's rulebook that says 'the horn or whistle is to be blown only at grade crossings where there is a whistle board'.

Of course, that would only confirm that a railroad did/does have such a rule. If you recall, my original point was that railroad trains are required to sound the horn at all public grade crossings (unless it has been established as a quiet zone) based on FRA regulations. I have yet to come across a regulation that all US railroads have to put up whistleboards at all public crossings on all their lines, but if there is such a rule, please provide a link to it.

Stix

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