CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- Neighbors in Chippewa Falls are begging for a little peace and quiet.
They want trains to silence their whistles when chugging through town and on Monday night, the city council heard solutions from people in the community.
“It keeps people awake, it wakes people up, especially if they live close to the tracks and they have to blow it at Pumphouse crossings just before they cross the railroad bridge,” said Roger Kressin, a Chippewa County Board member for the 14th District.
He said around 2,500 people in his district are affected by the train's whistle in the middle of the night.
Among the solutions offered by the community - a quiet zone, but train company leaders said that’s not a perfect solution.
“Because if an engineer comes up and sees a car or person next to the tracks, he's going to blow the horn for safety,” said general manager of Wisconsin Northern Railroad Pat Siverling.
Siverling also said in his 40-plus years of working on the rail business, every town has a problem with the train whistle.
“But the horns are an FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) and it’s also for public safety. I have been at many car accidents, truck accidents and believe me, when people don’t stop at a crossing, it’s not a pretty sight,” said Siverling.
Another idea from the community - changing the volume of the horn but that's not an option unless the community takes it up with the FRA.
“Maybe down the line, maybe there would be coordination between the FRA regulation government and the city local people. So if you change something here, you have to change it for everyone in the United States and that’s hard to do,” said Siverling.
The horns are required to have two long sounds, a short sound and a long sound. The final sound must be done as the engineer crosses the crossing.
He said a train engineer must sound the horn when the first reach a quarter mile of an intersection. For the neighbors in the “flats” area in by Pumphouse Road, it can be a disturbance in the middle of the night.
For Kathi Burger, it's more than just the horns. She said the train switches cars while passing behind her home near her backyard.
“It’s very noisy; it sounds like an airplane crashing in the yard. It just makes you jump outta bed, the kids get up at night and they jump in bed with me, I wake up to four kids in bed with me every morning,” said Burger.
She said it used to be only a couple times a week the train would pass through her neighborhood, but now it’s more frequently.
Kressin said another solution may be to have the trains run during the daytime instead of at night, but Siverling said the trains are usually occupied with other work during the day.
For every train car that you see out there, that’s equivalent to roughly three semis on the road. So you take a hundred cars, that’s 300 semis out on the roads so just think of what your taxes will be for paying road tax and railroads take care of themselves. There’s no public funds that take care of the railroads,” said Siverling.
The Chippewa Falls city council says there is a long way to go to find a solution. Discussion will keep chugging along until then.