"Beep beep" ok in Washougal, train whistle not

For years, the shrill whistle of passing trains served as an obnoxious and disruptive force in Washougal.

But through close work with Burlington Northern railroad company the city’s council brought residents some long desired quiet.

When council member Molly Coston, who has served since 2005, reflects on her proudest achievements thus far, the reduction of disturbance caused by the whistle ranks alongside the city’s downtown upgrades and improvements to ensure public safety.

Coston will seek re-election in November on the basis of her past achievements and future plans for the city, including a 20-year strategic plan, partnerships with public and private entities and a stable budget.

The process of limiting the train’s whistles took nearly four years of talks with Burlington Northern, Coston said.

The whistles often boomed up to 40 times per day.

“When the train came through you had to stop talking,” Coston said, recalling that one of her neighbor’s moved their bedroom to be further from the train tracks.

Now that Washougal is a designated quiet zone the sound of train whistles is far less common than it once was.

“Every once in a while you might hear a beep beep,” she said.

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