Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Curtail Train Horns

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Curtail Train Horns

The neighborhoods near the Alexandria Union Station suffer severe noise pollution from train horns. Although there are no studies, research, or data to support its claim, CSX insists that sounding horns promotes the safety of passengers waiting for trains to arrive.

However, horns are not used at stations in other countries such as France and Germany, and the safety of waiting passengers is not at risk.

This is adequate evidence that train horns do not improve passenger safety.

What is known from hundreds of studies is that noise causes various diseases. Among these are ischemia, stroke, angina, heart attack, chronic stress, hearing loss, myocardial infarction, diabetes, tinnitus, etc. These afflictions not only deteriorate health but may result in death.

For example, in 2011, the World Health Organization conducted noise research in the European Union countries. It is conservatively estimated that no less than 3,000 deaths occur each year from the effects of noise in those countries.

Extrapolating these data indicate that 40 deaths from noise likely occur in Virginia each year. Given the dense population around the Alexandria Union station, it is possible that two or three deaths from noise happen every year in our city.

Contrary to common belief, it appears there are no federal laws preventing Alexandria from restricting train horns at Union Station. Currently, there is an effort to determine if any state legislation exists that prevents local governments from restricting train horns. If not, then Alexandria should be able to curtail train horns.

Those interested in restricting train horns may contact banhorns@gmail.com for information about current activities.

Thomas Evans