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Tresspassing, construction prompted recent train whistles in Wauwatosa

Students at Wauwatosa East High School dangerously cross the tracks while a train approaches.

Students at Wauwatosa East High School dangerously cross the tracks while a train approaches.

June 25, 2014

The recent train horns coming from the Canadian Pacific railroad in Wauwatosa have all been due to trespassing or construction, Canadian Pacific Director of External Affairs Ed Greenberg said Wednesday.

The city of Wauwatosa filed a complaint with the company after hearing numerous reports from residents about the horns. Wauwatosa is a designated 24-hour quiet zone, but train operators are still required to sound their horns if there are dangerous conditions on the track.

"Crews use the whistle as a safety device to prevent a tragic situation from occurring," Greenberg said.

Greenberg said, over the past month Canadian Pacific has been monitoring the tracks through Wauwatosa, with managers on the scene and operators recording the reason for each horn use.

"We found no indications of inappropriate whistle use, but it did highlight the frequency of trespassing that is taking place," Greenberg said.

The company found that about half of the whistles were in response to people trespassing on the tracks — often walking their dogs on them or crossing them inappropriately.

The other whistles were for workers doing track maintenance for Canadian Pacific, which is now complete, and other construction. Greenberg said a  Canadian Pacific official reported the company's findings to the city Wednesday. 

Some Tosa residents have also reported horns coming from the Union Pacific trains running through the western part of the city.

State Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale recently determined those horns have been sounding to warn construction workers by the Zoo Interchange. Those will likely continue to sound until construction is complete.

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