Wauwatosa loses train 'quiet zone'

CREATED Jul 2, 2013

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WAUWATOSA -- Train horns are something Wauwatosa residents will have to get used to hearing, at least for a while.

The village lost its quiet zone status recently and it’s now up to federal officials as to when or if they’ll get it back.

“My husband mentioned something over the weekend and he said my gosh what’s up with the horns?” said long time village resident, Lisa Pacocha.

For the first time in 40 years, trains are allowed to sound their horns as they travel through the area.

The Federal Railroad Administration revoked the village’s quiet zone recently, saying village officials failed to complete required upgrades for its extension.

“We’ve had the process going through for the renewal,” explained Mayor Kathy Ehley. She tells TODAY’S TMJ4 the upgrades were made and turned in but that there was a glitch on the state’s end.

“We don’t know why but it wasn’t noted on the state records and therefore the federal government, federal officials, didn’t see those upgrades were done.”

“They didn’t get the paperwork in on time. It was really that simple,” said Jeff Plale, Commissioner of Wisconsin Railroads.

Now it could be weeks or months before federal officials reinstate the quiet zone, if they do.

Mayor Ehley said up to 36 trains come through the village every day. And the noise they’re creating has left village officials fielding phone calls from upset neighbors.

“They’re losing sleep. They’re losing sleep because it’s all night long and that’s when it’s most noticeable,” said Ehley.

Tina Greenholt has noticed the new noise. She’s even been woken by the horns. But, she doesn’t think they’re a bad thing.

“After we lost little Joey, I think it’s good to hear them…even though he didn’t.”

Joey Kramer is the 11-year-old who was hit and killed by a train here in Wauwatosa after he walked into its path on the way to school in February of last year.

Investigators say Joey had ear buds in and didn’t hear the train’s warning horn.