A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Train Rant


Harvey, North Dakota

Over the years of traveling I have stayed at many places where I had to endure train horn blowing.  The campground in Harvey though was absolutely intolerable. 

Every time a train approached the railroad crossing just across the street the red lights would began to flash, the bells started clanging and the crossing arms would lower.  Soon after the train, far away, would begin blasting its horn.  Two long blasts a short blast and then a long blast.  That final long blast would come when the engine was at the road.  One time I observed the engine almost past the road on the other side and he was still blasting the horn.  Why?  There was absolutely no way a car could be in any danger.  The road was completely blocked by the train.  

Just ahead were several side tracks.  This location was a staging area where engines and train cars were shuffled about.  Once the roadway was cleared the bells and lights would stop and the arms raise.  I watched a train slowly back up at a fast walk pace.  This triggered the bells and lights and arms to go into action.  The train backed up across the roadway.  There was no horn blasting since the engine was at the far opposite end.  So you can see there is an equal amount of danger with train vs. car (maybe even more so for the engineer cannot see that far back) yet they do no horn blowing.  It made no sense.  

Another time I heard bells clanging and watched the arms come down.  It was a lone engine coming across at that same fast walk pace.  He did not blast his horn!  How was this any different?  Before you say because he was a lone engine I had already observed lone engines crossing and they blasted the horn the required four times.  The entire procedure was silly and senseless.

Okay, I’m done

On a side I always see cars carrying loads wrapped in plastic.

I caught one with the plastic torn away.  It is lumber.  I have seen hundreds of cars in the past month since being up north here carrying lumber.  I understand there is supposed to be a “shortage” of lumber?
Its out there folks, on train cars.

We left the campground on the day we arrived to try to get away from the train harassment.  I found a little park down by the river over a mile away to spend the day.  I could still hear the train horns.
We had shade beneath probably the most massive cottonwood tree I have ever seen.

This is the Sheyenne River dammed up providing water recreational use.

Under the roof of this shelter...

...was a swallow nest.  The parents were not happy my being there.  They were flying around in circles tweeting.  The interesting thing was that all their friends flew around with them tweeting their support.

- comment reply -

I haven’t seen as many wind turbines up here in North Dakota as there were in South Dakota and even more so in Nebraska.


Robin said...

Trains are a big presence here in Eastern Ontario where I live. Our little town is divided in half by two train tracks, CN and CP. I moved here at age 22 and except for four years when we lived in Nova Scotia we have listened to them daily. Granted we have always lived no less than a mile away but I know how loud they are! Each train person seems to hoot the horns differently too.
Does Beans seem to sleep through all that racket?

Barbara Rogers said...

That's a sad tale of trains...it's definitely worse that they do all that switching around a crossing. We have one manufacturing plant which has its own siding, and it crosses a main US highway...slowly do the trains take the boxcar or two back into their area, and slowly do they return to the main track. Once they even had a derailing at that site...so that must be why they go so slow! Anyway highway US 70 was closed for days that time. Hope the lumber makes it to our Lowes, because people are having such high prices for building anything these days.

Debby said...

Lumber prices are going down here. I think that this is due to the fact that money is tight, and people are cutting back on the home improvement projects.