Piece in the Pilot yesterday (not in archivies)concernig the FRA issuing new rules on the loudness of locomotive whistles and "silent areas". With the encroachment of housing subdivisions crowding up againt the R of W, the NIMBY's are upset. One suggestion noted that if the crossing had lighted gates, than blowing the whistle would not be allowed. The FRA would leave that up to the individual community. If I'm not mistaken, Suffolk, VA. instituted that policy years ago. Someone correct me if I have my facts wrong.
Saw that also in another paper. The FRA will leave it up to the community to install alternative warnings such as whistles at the crossings, xing arms or other devices. While it will be a boon for the railroads who have engineers like marines who don't blow the crossings anyway and get big judgements against the railroad, it will not be good for those who are killed on the crossings. As an aside, the NS has developed video cameras that are installed and in the process of being installed on each of their engines that have saved millions in the past couple years in court cases of witnesses claiming that the horn was not blowing at crossings when the train struck a vehicle. It is surprizing how many "witnesses" are wrong. This is a great inovation for the NS and I have read little about it. It is also great for use in rule violations and to exonorate crews who did not violate rules.
While you are mostly right about the camera, it cannot be used UNLESS there is an accident. Much like the the black box is not open except for accident. There is also a microphone. ANd I for one, am glad for that. I like the camera and I like the idea thatit cannot be used unless there is an accident