Despite quiet zone designation, trains still blowing horns in Wauwatosa

Officials not sure why quiet zone is being ignored

A file photo from April 4, 2012, shows a bicyclist rolling across a pedestrian railroad crossing in the village area of Wauwatosa.

A file photo from April 4, 2012, shows a bicyclist rolling across a pedestrian railroad crossing in the village area of Wauwatosa.

May 27, 2014


State Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale said he is stumped by why trains are continuing to blow their horns in Wauwatosa despite the city being a 24-hour quiet zone.

"I'm getting to the point where I'm obsessed with getting to the bottom of it," Plale said.

Canadian Pacific Director of External Affairs Ed Greenberg was also unsure of why the horns were sounding.

"We have a team looking into the reports we're hearing from the local residents," Greenberg said. "When there's a quiet zone in place, our crews will be instructed to comply with that decision."

Greenberg said the team is looking at whether there have been safety concerns, such as someone walking by the railroad, which would allow operators to break the quiet zone.

Looking at a log of complaints from residents, Plale said he was skeptical the horns were simply due to safety concerns.

"If it's happening with such frequency — there aren't that many unsafe conditions," he said.

But Plale could not pinpoint another possibility.

"I'm trying to figure out if there's any pattern and there really isn't," he said. "It's literally all over the place. This cannot, will not, go on all summer long."

In the meantime, residents are getting anxious. Don Jamnik emailed city officials asking them to set up video cameras to get "proof of trains illegally blowing their horns without reasonable cause."

Karen Jaeckels, assistant to Wauwatosa Mayor Kathy Ehley, said the city filed a complaint with Canadian Pacific that the train horns were breaking the city's quiet zone.

The company and city are encouraging residents to record where and when they hear the train horns and report the information directly to Canadian Pacific at (800) 766-7912 or

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