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Wellesley selectman: CSX is blowing it

Posted by Ralph Ranalli September 30, 2007 08:37 AM

WELLESLEY

The sound of a distant train whistle can deliver a pleasant feeling of nostalgia for many people, but when the whistle’s blowing at frequent intervals in close range in the middle of the night, the spell is quickly broken.

So it is in Wellesley these days as CSX is performing maintenance on its tracks from Allston to Framingham. MBTA and other trains passing through town have blasted their whistles repeatedly while passing through work sites at night -- a required warning to protect the crews working on the tracks.

Selectman David Himmelberger, whose office and home are located near the tracks, has been a critic of the CSX policy concerning train whistles at night in town. Those whistles weren’t required until 2003, he said, when a lookout man working with a snow removal team at the Wellesley Farms station was struck and killed by a freight train passing through.

CSX spokesperson Robert Sullivan said the whistles are necessary for crew safety. He said the work is taking place at night in order to avoid disrupting commuter train service during the day. The increased frequency of whistles at night, he said, are also due in part to the fact that freight trains run at night so as to alleviate rail congestion during the day. Sullivan said the work on the rails in Wellesley should be complete this week.

-- Lisa Keen

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