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For Safety’s Sake: Why We Sound Train Horns

Harlem Mount Kisco

(Posted August 27, 2015)

The sounding of train horns for grade crossings, station platforms and along Metro-North’s right of way is a critical safety measure to alert customers, railroad workers and area residents of an approaching train.

Metro-North is committed to the safety of our customers and employees at all times. The bottom line is that safety takes precedence over all other issues, and sounding train horns may save lives.

Sounding of Train Horns at Passenger Stations

Metro-North’s Operating Rules require the sounding of the train horn (one long horn sound) by all train engineers on the approach to an adjacent station platform to alert people standing on or near the platform of the approaching train, regardless of whether the train is stopping at the station or not.

As part of being a good neighbor, between 9 PM and 6 AM, Metro-North allows the engineer to take relief of this rule provided that there is no person standing on or near the station platform.

Sounding of Train Horns due to Workers or Equipment along the Tracks

While we are performing work along the right-of-way (track, bridge work, etc.) and railroad workers are either on or close to the tracks, Federal regulations require all train engineers are required to sound the train horn.

The sounding for each train is one long horn and one short sound, followed by a sequence of two short signals until the end of train has passed the railroad workers or any work equipment on or near the tracks. The horn is also sounded whenever a train is approaching standing train or work equipment that is on or near the track and is required regardless of whether the equipment is occupied or not.

Sounding of Train Horns at Public Grade Crossings

When approaching a Grade Crossing, Federal regulations require all train engineers to sound the train horn.

This begins 15-20 seconds before the train arrives at the crossing and continues until the head end of train has occupied the crossing. The sounding for each train is two long horn sounds, followed by a short horn and then a long horn sound.

(Photo by Emily Moser.)

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