Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Train whistles

blow for safety

To the editor:

This letter is in response to the recent run of complaints pertaining to the excessive horn use at railroad crossings in Baker City at late hours.

As a Union Pacific employee, I would like to clarify national railroad crossing policy. We are mandated by the Department of Transportation document number FRA-2007-27285, established by the Federal Railway Administration, to provide ample warning for public safety.

This states that the engineer must begin signaling between 15 to 20

seconds before approaching the crossing and continuing until the lead

engine completely occupies the crossing. Currently there are four

public crossings, three private crossings, and one pedestrian crossing

within the city limits.

Each one of these requires the engineer to signal upon approach.

Engineers are also required by law to sound warnings when encountering

maintenance personnel repairing track and trespassers on railroad


The gates are an electronic warning device, and like all mechanical

devices, can and will fail on occasion. It is not uncommon to see a

pedestrian or automobile weave around the gates or hurry through before

they are all the way down.

Yearly there are hundreds severely injured or killed at road crossings.

There have been several accidents over the years, right here in Baker


More information is available for public access at www.fra.dot.gov or

at www.up.com. Please remember, these laws are for your safety.

Casey Taylor

Track Inspector

Baker City

Let's drink to downtown fountains

To the editor:

Baker City is well-known for excellent pure water.

In former years drinking fountains graced the sidewalks on MainStreet, in the historic area.

Each 3-foot stone pedestal offered piped-in, bubblydrinking water.The

continual flow drained into a copper splash bowl and then exited

through the bottom.Passersby relished a refreshing drink from the


These instant thirst quenchers were locatednear curbside at the old

Post Office sidewalk, another in front of the Orpheum theater

(nowMarilyn's Music) andonenear the front entrance of Geiser Grand

Hotel.An additional fountain was also located on thenorth lawn at

Union Pacific Depot. There may have been others, but these come to


I would like to see at least one of these bubbling entities

reinstalled.These would servenot only as a convenience for local

shoppers, but as awelcoming gesture to visitors as they stroll Main

Street.I visualizea drinking fountain available at the Court Street

relaxation area.

Inthe new version, a moldedsplash bowlof high-tech material would be

desirable atop the stone structure. Thiswould not attract vandals as

readily asthe copper lining used in originals.

Are there other residents who favor installation of a downtown drinking

fountain in the historic district?If so, let it be known to city

officialsor Historic BakerCity leaders for consideration.

In future seasons wemaypossibly'drink to that.'

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City