Selectmen on track to tackle nuisance train whistles

By Matthew Bernat | Nov 07, 2017
Photo by: Nick Walecka Selectmen are inviting residents to air complaints about train whistles.

Anyone annoyed by loud train whistles is being invited to sound off on the issue.

That’s according to Selectmen who will schedule public hearings on the matter, prompted by complaints from business owners and residents living near the town’s eight rail crossings. Selectman Patrick Tropeano brought the issue to the board’s attention on Tuesday.

“It’s rather disheartening,” said Tropeano. “There are trains going through neighborhoods, screeching those whistles and waking people up – it’s annoying.”

Town attorney Richard Bowen explained state law lets towns petition railroad companies to stop blowing whistles at rail crossings. Bowen said he successfully stopped whistles at some rail crossings in several towns in the past.

The process involves documenting complaints from residents, including times and dates of the offending noise, and then approaching rail companies. Sometimes, the companies will voluntarily silence the whistles.

If not, Bowen said state officials are then contacted, which starts a public hearing process in Boston. Railroad companies might then be ordered to stop sounding whistles at some crossings, but not all.

“From experience, they are willing to order whistle blowing to stop at certain locations,” said Bowen. He noted if a crossing is deemed dangerous railroad companies might not be compelled to stop the noise.

Bowen cited the crossing at the narrows as one example.

“That’s a tough one you might not get,” said Bowen.

Selectmen said hearings will likely be scheduled for December, but no dates have been set. In the meantime, board members encouraged the public to file complaints with the Selectmen’s office by calling 508-291-3100.

Comments (20)
Posted by: Spherebreaker | Nov 08, 2017 07:35

We don't even have commuter rail yet and already the crybabies are whining. What message does this send to the decision makers on commuter rail.Those tracks have been there forever and trains make noise in case you didn't know that when you bought your home. 

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Nov 08, 2017 07:52

Let's say they get their way.  The trains stop blowing whistles.  Then one of their kids gets hit by a train.  Now what?  They'll raise another stink and sue the train for not blowing the whistle.


Wanna know what's more annoying than the train whistles?  The crybabies complaining about them!



Posted by: cranky pants | Nov 08, 2017 08:24

Welcome to the world where being offended is trendy. Let's just change everything because we don't like it... Hooray !!

I vote to ban asparagus and spinach, just the looks of those two foods offend me and hurt my feelings.


In all seriousness, hasn't Wareham already had a couple of train vs pedestrian accidents ?

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Nov 08, 2017 08:40

Reminds me of two of my favorite stories:


There once was a wharf in Nantucket where fishing boats operated since before Moby Dick was written.  Then the rich decided to build million dollar cottages on the wharf and soon began to complain about fishing boats.  Now the fishing boats must follow strict regulations on noise and when they can run their engines.  I'd put fish carcasses in their BMWs if I was one of those poor fishermen!


There once was a multi-generation owned family farm near us in Bourne.  Then a developer built McMansions nearby.  Realtors only showed the houses when the wind was blowing a certain way.  Delicate families moved in and began to complain about the smell, eventually forcing the farm out of business.  I would have put pig manure in their BMWs if I was a part of that family farm.

Posted by: tesnobeach | Nov 08, 2017 09:39

I live near Main Ave. Onset and have no problem with the train or its whistle ... with may homeless people living out in the woods behind Cranberry Plaza , it cant hurt to blow that whistle !!!

Posted by: Theresa ONeill | Nov 08, 2017 10:18

One of my favorite things about Onset is hearing the train - sounds so old fashioned. Plus it's a safety issue. When I first moved here a teenager was hit by a train but that hasn't deterred people from walking the tracks. At least the horns give them a warning.

Posted by: bob | Nov 08, 2017 10:20

Boy,and they wonder why people laugh when they hear that you are from Wareham,this is why.........

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Nov 08, 2017 10:48

Next will be traffic lights. If you live near an intersection and the traffic lights shine into your window, call and complain.  They will shut them off for you.

Posted by: cranky pants | Nov 08, 2017 11:53

Let me guess... The residents at 815 main street complained.

Posted by: JollyRoger | Nov 08, 2017 19:53

Instead of harassing the state, MBTA and railroad company over train horns, I'm curious what positive actions town officials are taking to get commuter rail to Wareham and Buzzards Bay.  The MBTA has clearly outlined what is required to request a pilot rail service.  It requires a local sponsor (town) to request the service and demonstrate local support for the service.  Details are posted online at

Have Wareham or Bourne officials requested a pilot?  Apparently not, as the MBTA reported during a meeting 10 days ago.  See page 3 of -- "The City of Lynn and the Town of Bourne opted not to pursue pilot proposals."

The state's proposal to start South Coast Rail service via Middleboro does not boost chances for Wareham/Bourne commuter rail, and in fact greatly reduces it.  In September, the state proposed to eliminate daily commuter rail service to the current Middleboro/Lakeville station on the tracks to the Cape and build a new station in Middleboro so trains could run directly to New Bedford and Fall River.  See

Posted by: Rosebud | Nov 09, 2017 08:29

As stated above, property buyers need to check the property for nearby train tracks.  Further, we need those warnings for all of those  who ignore the other signals and signs.  Small inconvenience for safety.

Posted by: Knocked for six | Nov 10, 2017 06:53

I would like the selectman to to tackle the issue of noise from emergency vehicle sirens.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Nov 10, 2017 09:19

Hi All, there hasn't been one comment that supports this ridiculous topic.  That includes the comment strings in other places like Facebook.  Does Mr Tropeano live near a train crossing?  Stranger things have happened.  We had a selectman that lived near a Swifts Beach and look what happened with that.

Posted by: wtbarber | Nov 11, 2017 07:40

blasting subwoofers = "ok", but train whistles = "nuisance" ?  only in wareham : )

Posted by: cranky pants | Nov 11, 2017 08:50

Hahaha, perfect answer barber !!

How about tackle shady business plans, ugly pensions, silly health insurance stipulations supporting the municipalities that were signed in the 70's...

There's far better things to waste time, money and resources on. Go get that stuff done first then we'll talk trains.

Posted by: OnsetTogether | Nov 12, 2017 13:47

Wait, aren’t we trying to bring commuter rail to Wareham? Only if the train is silent and doesn’t sound a safety whistle? Is the Christmas train to be silenced also? Bah humbug!

Posted by: JollyRoger | Nov 12, 2017 17:27

"Wait, aren’t we trying to bring commuter rail to Wareham?"

Bingo.  Apparently not, according to Tropeano.

Posted by: | Nov 13, 2017 10:02

I never had a problem with it. I also wake up in the AM and go to work. The train blows as im jumping in my car for work. I love trains, they were going by my house long before I CHOSE to buy it. If I didn't want to live near a track then I would not.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Nov 14, 2017 11:27

My husband and I love the sound of the train whistle, to us the trash train's once a day trip sounds quaint and rural. As for the Cape Flyer's few months of more frequent weekend tourist trips, we don't mind the whistle then either; it just ads the happy thought of people enjoying a train trip to the Cape.

Posted by: wtbarber | Nov 14, 2017 17:04

Why would the town build a station for the cape flyer and somehow be anti-mbta?   That makes no sense just like this dumb anti-train whistle complaining.  As a tax paying resident I am extremely "disheartened and annoyed" using the town attorney's time to document and police train whistles.

Matt - Could you rewrite the article to read "Everyone that is annoyed by this blatant waste of town resources can file complaints with the Selectmen’s office by calling 508-291-3100."


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