Northampton Press

Friday, April 10, 2020

Council hears train complaints

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

Borough residents present petition seeking end to noise, odors

At the June 6 Northampton Borough Council meeting, members heard complaints from a resident regarding train noise and odors.

It was reported locomotives from Horwith Trucks Inc. idle the engines overnight and blow the horns, waking nearby families with the noise and smells. This is the second time this issue has been brought before council.

Brian King, of Barrington Drive, accompanied by residents living in a nearby residential development, went before council seeking relief. King presented a petition signed by 86 residents seeking an end to the noise and odors.

“Last night, it was 3:41 a.m. when the train rolled through our front yard, their backyards. It’s annoying that the train sits, idles, revs up its engine and blows its horn,” King said.

“I did reach out to him,” borough Manager LeRoy Brobst said regarding attempted communication with Adam Horwith, whose family owns the small railroad.

Brobst said a letter was also sent to Horwith, asking for his cooperation.

“As of yet, I have not received a response,” Brobst added.

Brobst said the petition signed by the residents will be sent to Horwith as well.

The rail yard and tracks are located in an area zoned industrial, which may limit the borough’s ability to effect change. Federal regulations may also hinder any requests.

Residents were also concerned the trains could be transporting toxic materials. Brobst said he is waiting for Horwith’s comments on what materials the trains carry.

Council members spoke after listening to borough residents voice their concerns.

Councilman Robert McHale wondered if the railway’s work schedule may have changed. Norfolk Southern Railroad brings its engine and rail cars to the area of Main and 10th streets, where a Horwith train engine takes over.

Donald Szerencsits took the podium with a different view.

“It gripes me that people can move in next to something like that and then complain,” he said. “It’s like moving next to a farm, building a house and then complaining about the smell.”

Szerencsits said the railroad has provided jobs over the decades.

Another resident noted the railroad has been there for years, predating many of the houses in the area.

“Boroughs and towns are often powerless to do anything about railroads,” Steven Goudsouzian, borough solicitor, said. “It’s a complaint we get all the time — people saying, ‘It’s in my town.’ The problem is we don’t control it.”