We all are aware of the fact that accidents do happen at railroad crossings, railroad bridges, and on the tracks themselves. One of Maine’s greatest artists, N.C. Wyeth, along with his grandson, died at a railway crossing, many years ago. Once, during a hunting trip in northern Maine, I walked along a railroad bed in order to cross a swampy area. A freight train came up behind me and I was not aware of it until it was almost upon me. I was not on the tracks so I was in no danger but, people ( mostly young people ) do walk on the tracks for various reasons, known only to them. Where does the liability lie if we require the trains to run silently through our town? Could the town then become liable?

I grew up in a small Massachusetts town, similar to Cumberland, and I heard train whistles every day of my life until I graduated from high school. The early whistle in the morning was my signal to get ready for school. Never once did I (or anyone else) ever feel that those whistles had a negative effect on the quality of our lives. Maybe people’s ears are more sensitive these days. My advice: If you build, buy, or live near a railroad track, you’re going to hear whistles. Live with it.

Everett White