Montgomery Looks to Silence Trains

Montgomery, Al. (WFSA) -- If you've been through Downtown Montgomery, you've no doubt heard the train.

The loud, 110 decibel whistle is an all too common occurrence for Tom Methvin.

He's been practicing law on Commerce Street for years, just yards away from the track.

"If it came by once or twice a day, it'd be no big deal.  When you're talking about 20 or 30 times, blowing the horn all day, it just gets old," Methvin explained.

Methvin isn't the only one frustrated by the noise.  Local hotels often complain of early morning trains--whistling and waking residents each time they pass the Coosa Street crossing.

City senior staff attorney Mickey McInnish and the Mayor's office want to put a stop to the sounds by closing the crossing off to the public.

It's a way, McInnish says, to silence the trains for good.

"What we've proposed is, whenever those gates are open, we will have real people there, watching the gate," he explained.

What about the places where the sounds are welcome?  You'd be hard pressed to find a Montgomery Biscuits game without a train whistle in the mix.

"[Fans] are [. . .] really taken aback when the train goes past that wall.  When it blows its horn, it's kind of a part of the experience of the train being there," said Jim Tocco, announcer for the Biscuits.

"The train came through, and it was a night game.  The fans screamed.  It was awesome," explained Terri Butler, a Wetumpka resident.

For others, however, it's an experience they'd like to forget.

"All the engineers [should] have to do is look out both sides of the train and look ahead, for traffic and everything.  You don't need it that loud," said Albert James, an Autaugaville resident.

So when will the changes take place?

With Jubilee just a few weeks away, the city's chugging along with this issue.  They want the whistle to stop before festivities begin at the end of the month.

NOTE: The crossing in question is at the end of Coosa Street, at one of the entrances to the Riverwalk Amphitheater.  If the closing is approved by CSX, pedestrians would enter the amphitheater through the underground tunnel on Commerce Street instead.

Reporter: Cody Holyoke