BNSF Railway claims that this train bedlam is all due to federal regulations. Railroad CEOs pretend train horn regulations can never be changed. The Federal Railroad Administration should immediately mandate that all railroads establish quite zones when traveling through urban areas.
I believe BNSF has done nothing to reduce noise in our communities. It would cost several million dollar in upgrades (paid for by the local property owners) to have a quiet zone in Bellingham. The railroad could also lobby the railroad administration to change the regulations about horn frequency, duration, and loudness at crossings. The railroads could invest in newer grade crossing safety technology. BNSF could be ordered to go slower in urban areas.
With no danger present at most railroad crossings, I believe frequent horn blasts are often unnecessary. The noise travels for many miles. It is one thing to be awakened once a night, but is much more annoying to be awakened four or five times a night. I believe BNSF does not care about Bellingham or the thousands of other communities they disrupt with noise, delays, and potential explosive derailments. BNSF has not been a good neighbor with noisy operations.
Emergency police and fire vehicles only use sirens during emergency situations, not while passing through every intersection 24/7. More information at: cob.org/documents/pw/transportation/train-horns-faq.pdf.