I thought it was maybe just my imagination at first. But, as it turns out, yes, the whistles from trains going through the Virginia Avenue train tunnel are louder than they used to be. If you have also noticed it, here’s the answer. The good news is that it should be temporary (much like the National Anthem every morning at 8am).
After noticing the horns several nights in a row, we reached out to CSX and received the following response:
Prior to the start of construction on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, CSX was able to install technology that allowed our engineers to avoid sounding their horns when entering and exiting the tunnel. That technology is in use in the new tunnel as well, however, during construction, when workers are present near the tunnel, engineers sound their horns to ensure the safety of the construction team members who are working near the tracks. Once construction is complete and workers are no longer present, we expect the use of horns to diminish.
The volume of train horns is regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration, and engineers always have the discretion to use their horns if they believe it will enhance their safety or the safety of the public.
So, the good news is that this is not the new normal. And thanks to this mild winter, all construction seems to be right on schedule. We’re looking forward to the completion and newly improved streetscape!