Friday, June 21, 2024

Turn that train horn frown upside down

| January 24, 2023 1:00 AM

In the Sunday Bee (Jan. 8), readers were treated to a drama-filled letter titled, “Let’s rethink the use of train whistles.” The author told us a sad tale of horror when he heard “the blaring, shrieking, whistle” from a train far below. He then “gritted his teeth and frowned” because the magic of forest quietude was being “ripped away” by this “industrial blast.”

He then went on to opine that train whistles (they are actually horns) “wake up babies a half mile away” and “distract novelists on the other side of town.” I wonder if the author has spoken to the mothers of those babies or the unidentified novelists on the other side of town. Do these victims of the train horns really exist?

His solution to this major crisis is to simply wrap the whistle (horn) in a tube so the noise only goes out to the front of the train. Let’s see here, do you suppose the sound just might bounce off the mountains, water, rocks, trees and buildings, then divert to hikers who are far up the mountain from the valley floor?

Come on little Jimmy, ungrit those teeth and turn that frown upside down. I don’t know where you came from, but you moved to a place where trains have been rolling through town since the 1800s. Most of us locals love our trains. They deliver our goods, take thousands of trucks off our highways and contribute greatly to our economy. The benefits of our local trains far outweigh the few seconds of your high-in-the-mountains hike being distracted by a train horn many miles away. If you stop and take a moment to listen, you may even begin to enjoy that soothing sound in the distance.

The next thing you know, we will see a letter demanding the Sandpoint Airport be shut down during hiking times. Perhaps airplanes should be retrofitted with devices that project the sound of the engine straight up into the atmosphere without going down or to the sides.