NW Atlanta neighbors: loud train horns still a nuisance

Source: WGCL

Neighbors in a northwest Atlanta community say extremely loud train horns are still a nuisance more than two years after CBS46 first spoke with them about the issue. They now fear the noise will raise issues for the city's new development on the west side.

Residents in the Howell Station neighborhood have gotten used to the horns, but some are still hoping to make changes before the area gets even bigger.

CSX trains blow their horns approaching a private crossing that leads to a Georgia Power facility off Marietta Boulevard. Neighbors say it happens during the day and night, rattling windows and forcing them to pause conversations until the loud noise stops.

"I sat up in bed when I first moved here and I’m like what in the world is that," said Vacretia Elliott, who has lived in the neighborhood for three years. "It sounds like a big mechanic's shop with a lot of heavy equipment.”

Chris Alasa, a homeowner spearheading the effort to silence the horns, started a petition on change.org years ago. He said since it's a private rather than public crossing, he is hoping there is room for compromise.

"Some basic signage and an amendment to a crossing contract between CSX and Georgia Power," he said.

He said it's better to address this sooner rather than later before development in the area takes off.

"Right behind this is where the new quarry park is going in with the Beltline and also Proctor Creek Greenway," said Alasa.

"I think it’s a win for everybody, including CSX and Georgia Power. They'll be able to provide some good will for the community," he added.

CBS46 received the following statement from CSX:

“At CSX, the safety of our employees and the communities where we operate is our highest priority. CSX train crews blow the horn for two important reasons: it saves lives and it is required by federal law. When to blow the horn, how long, and even the intensity level are all dictated by the Federal Railroad Administration’s Train Horn Rule. While private grade crossings are not specifically included in the rule, they are included in CSX operating rules and practices, which often exceed federal laws for the sake of safety. If CSX train engineers determine that blowing the horn is necessary to warn the public of an approaching train and to enhance safety in certain situations, they are authorized to do so. While train horns may be considered inconvenient, they help support our goal of ensuring everyone returns home safely at the end of every day, whether they work for CSX or live in the communities we serve.”

Georgia Power provided CBS46 with the following statement:

"The safety and security of our facilities, employees and the public is the top priority for Georgia Power. We appreciate neighbors’ concerns about CSX train noise. While Georgia Power must defer to CSX and its regulators about the type of safety equipment and practices in place at the crossing, we are glad to participate in discussions, including residents, businesses and CSX, so long as railroad safety requirements are kept first and access to critical electrical facilities is unhindered."

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