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Sleepless in Alexandria: Rail work keeps residents up

Monday - 10/22/2012, 3:46pm  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - There could be some sleepless nights ahead for people who live within a few miles of the railroad tracks in Virginia.

More than a dozen residents have complained to the City of Alexandria about the late night-early morning train whistle and freight trains that can be heard in areas along the tracks from Alexandria all the way to Woodbridge.

Because of the late hour, the noise can be heard in places that have not heard train traffic or whistles in the past.

Freight rail company, CSX, is doing maintenance work on the tracks between Alexandria and Woodbridge.

It has to be done between 8:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. when there are no Amtrak trains sharing the tracks, CSX says.

The increased number of whistles involve maintenance trains which under federal regulations have to blow whistles at all railroad crossing, no matter how many times they cross, according to CSX. Or when they pass workers on the tracks.

In a news release from the city, it says there's nothing Alexandria can do about the noise.

Residents like Tim Castle, say they have heard the increased train traffic and whistles.

"The trains horn went off like five minutes, and I didn't understand that," Castle says.

Some other local residents have found ways to cope. Fermel Johnson says she lives far from the tracks and hasn't really heard the noise much until now.

"Early in the morning I can hear them," Johnson says. Johnson uses her TV to drown out the noise.

CSX says the work will be done by November 1st.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)