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With train horns still sounding in Wauwatosa, officials figure out half the problem

June 4, 2014

State Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale said he has figured out why train horns have been coming from one rail line in Wauwatosa, while the horns from the Canadian Pacific rail line continue to stump him.

Because of construction around the Zoo Interchange, Union Pacific trains running through the western part of the city are required to blow their horns to warn construction workers, despite Wauwatosa's designation as a quiet zone. Those horns likely will continue to sound until construction is complete.

However, Plale has also heard many complaints about Canadian Pacific trains in the eastern part of the city. He said the complaints are about trains sounding their horns at a wide range of times and directions.

"If there's a pattern here, I'm not seeing it," Plale said.

The city of Wauwatosa has filed a complaint with Canadian Pacific about the horns violating the quiet zone, which is only supposed to happen if there are dangerous circumstances near the railroad tracks.

Canadian Pacific Director of External Affairs Ed Greenberg said the company has been receiving regular updates from residents about when and where the horns are sounding, which is helping its investigation. It also is asking crews to provide details about when they are using horns, and having managers conduct spot checks in the area.

"We're continuing to look into the reports we've received, and we're taking what we're being told very seriously," Greenberg said. "We have a team investigating the reports, and we're doing extensive monitoring of train activity to try to pinpoint the situation."

Greenberg asked residents to continue reporting when and where they hear the horns directly to Canadian Pacific at (800) 766-7912 or community_connect@cpr.ca.

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