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September 13, 2011


Larry David

Most Public Transit routes are in the middle of blighted area.
You should know what I mean.
However, I bet you do not live anywhere near the tracks.
Have you ever walked down those tracks from Peninsula Street to the 4th Street Station, San Mateo, CA.?
People live there, abuse drugs, that should be the focus of complaints first!
Don't be a Baby.


Well, amazingly, Burlingame's rail area is not blighted at all, at least not yet-. The train horns to me now seem much less frequent and annoying than what I remember from a year or so ago. I do live about a half mile from the tracks though I'm not sure this has so much to do with immediate proximity. The train is audible from several miles away at night, but it always has been as long as I can remember. There was a time several decades ago when heavy freight traffic was common, day and night. Maybe they did not have the requirement to blast their horns, but just the sound of steel on steel, for long sequences, was certainly a common occurrence.

Larry David

I grew up in a "blighted neighborhood."
It was semi-rural.
I was fond of the sound of trains and their whistles.
Since I have been here visiting my family..
What is happening at SFO?
Jet engines being tested in the middle of the night?
My family says it always happens in the fall..


Yep, that is annoying. It has been that way for many, many years. Even worse is the noise from the rifle range (the echo of repetitive shooting) from Coyote Point. It is an open range, I think mainly used for the training of law enforcement-- I'm not sure why it is not enclosed. The noise is common very early mornings, late at night and on some weekends. What a shame for a beautiful county park--little peace and quiet, even out there.


Seriously? Trains are a part of our everyday life. I've always been happy and actually get a little sentimental childhood peace when I move into a new home and at night crawl into bed and hear the distant sound of the trains. I can't believe people are taking time to have a meeting to discuss this. Oh wait, yes I can, people are insane now about EVERYTHING! I'd rather hear the soothing sound of a train (IF I'M AWAKE IN THE MIDDLE of the night) than the cars driving through the streets BLASTING THEIR BOOM BOXES the size of their cars. I don't care that you listen to it, but why do I and everyone in a 3 mile radius have to hear it, not too mention it literally shakes our windows in cars and homes. But again, I wouldnt take the time of day to discuss this in a meeting. Life is too short, get a life people and quite wasting cities time and $$ on frivolous stuff like this. Especially during times where so many cities, states, not too mention the country are BROKE!

Larry David

When I a visiting my family here in the fall, I love the sounds in our neighborhood...
Between the Jet Engine Blasts.
Would it not be appropriate to send those "tests" out to San Francisco Bay?


These comments are funny. Interesting to find out that our $1.5 mil house 2 blocks from the train tracks in Burlingame is in a "blighted" area!

And the person who referred to the sound of the train as "soothing" clearly doesn't live anywhere near the tracks. It is not the train itself that is a problem, it is the horns, particularly at night. Cal train made some changes after complaints a couple years ago, but the ones at night (Union Pacific?) are insanely loud - blasting me out of a sound sleep. I understand the safety need to sound the horn at crossings, but I don't know why it has to be so loud and LONG - it sounds like it never stops all down the Peninsula.


We call them "leaners"

... as in, they "lean" on the horns and don't get off of them.

Kevin Hecteman

As one with several engineers and conductors in his circle of friends, and as one who works as a volunteer trainman on a heritage railway under FRA jurisdiction, I'd like to take a shot at answering Joe's question.

Federal law, in general, requires sounding the two-longs-one-short-one-long whistle signal beginning one-quarter mile in advance of the crossing and continuing until the locomotive occupies the crossing.

In southern Burlingame and northern San Mateo, there are six crossings bunched closely together, those being North Lane, Howard Avenue, Bayswater Avenue, Peninsula Avenue, Villa Terrace and Bellevue Avenue. None of these crossings are more than a quarter-mile apart. No sooner does an engineer finish blowing the whistle for one crossing than he (or she) has to start up again for the next. That may explain why they seem to be leaning on the horn.

While Caltrain's trains generally stick to the Peninsula, UP's locomotives roam the country. I don't think it will make a lot of sense for UP to muffle the horns on a few of their locomotives and tie down those assets to one area.

(Keep in mind, also, that the engineer might be "leaning" on the horn to get the attention of someone who's wandering around on the tracks where he shouldn't be. If you hear a loud succession of short horn blasts, that's most likely what's going on.)

Potential solutions:

1) Establish quiet zones, in which crossings are made impatient-driver-proof with medians, four-quadrant gates and such
2) Look into wayside horns, which are mounted next to the crossings and direct the whistle sound at the auto/pedestrian traffic.
3) Grade-separate crossings, or even close them altogether.

Even with these, the whistle might still be needed sometimes as a warning.


i just moved to Burlingame and live a few blocks from the train. nice train, nice tracks...horrid deafening horns!!!!! i am afraid of loosing my hearing due to the very high decibels and i am getting a bunch of headaches often. Help. i went to Lowes to buy ear protectors to keep out up to 32 decibels. a cheap temporary solution for my PAINS due to Excessive Unnecessary Noise. People just do not cross the tracks when u are not supposed to ..do not linger.


As I walked by a couple nights ago, I noticed the loudspeakers mounted on poles all along the station platform. They were announcing a train that was behind schedule and I thought it too was quite loud.

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