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Train's whistle means home
by Mark Boehler
Aug 17, 2014 | 665 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

I'm probably in the minority, but I love the sound of the train whistles as they pass through Corinth.

I never really realized this until the city began discussion of making the Cross City a Quiet Zone and even a recent hearing on the matter to discuss cost and how to proceed.

Like many other communities, a Quiet Zone would ban trains from sounding their horns in Corinth.

There is a debate raging in my own home, as my daughter Amber finds the whistles annoying, especially when trying to teach a class with a locomotive raging just steps away.

We have no way to prove this, but we both think the horns have gotten louder since the first Quiet Zone discussion happened at a city board meeting and the matter appeared in the newspaper.

On three occasions in recent months at two Corinth railroad crossings, I witnessed locomotives blaring their horns far past the street intersection.

Although my ears took about all they could stand, it doesn't change why I have three reasons to cast my no vote on the Quiet Zone and spend the over $200,000 in costs on something else.

First reason, history.

There was a time when the tourism office was recruiting volunteers to give historical tours of Corinth. I'm a "wannabee" Shiloh Civil War guide, so I once stepped into the shoes of former tourism director Del Horton to see what it was like.

Every time he was talking about the historic rail crossing in Corinth which was the cause for so much bloodshed at Shiloh, an approaching train would warn the group of visitors of its approach. It was always right on cue.

Del would stop and smile and then say as the horn finally fell silent, "As you can see, trains are still a part of Corinth today."

Indeed. Twenty-two pass through town on two tracks each and every day.

Second reason, Gregory.

My 10-year-old grandson who lives with me loves trains. Our dining area has been transformed into a model railroad city and at last count, he had five locomotives.

His prized possession is one which makes sounds, including a whistle.

I have so many memories of being downtown with Gregory, playing at the caboose or letting him ride his bike in Trailhead Park.

And then, we hear the sound of a train.

"Poppy, a train is coming!" he always shouted, as all eyes are on the tracks.

We have a game to guess the color of the engine before we see it.

If the Crossroads Museum builds a viewing platform for the famous rail crossing, the sound of the train would add to the experience.

Third reason, my sweet Dawnie.

For five years, my wife traveled for a living. By 7 a.m. on most Monday mornings, I had already made a trip to Memphis International Airport where I had left her at the curb.

When Memphis air service arrived at Tupelo Regional Airport, things were a little better. By 7 a.m. I had been to Tupelo and back. And every Friday evening, the same thing.

To see her smiling face getting off the Southwest flight at Tupelo was a welcome relief my wife would be with me for a short weekend. Because there were many weekends she did not make it home – job not complete or flight delays.

We live near downtown where we hear the trains and what Dawn discovered in her travels to Alaska and 24 of the lower 48 states, is the sounds of trains passing through Corinth is what makes Corinth unique.

As we settled in out in the garage for an evening of conversation for a couple who had not seen each other for a week or more, it would always happen.

The sound of an approaching and passing train could be heard.

And it was music to our ears.

"I'm so glad to be home," she always said.

For us, the sound of a train meant we were home.


For some, the sound of a train whistle means loud annoyance.

For me, it means home.

(Mark Boehler served as editor of the Daily Corinthian from 1995-2008. He returned for a second tour of duty in 2011.)

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September 06, 2014
I agree completely. I love hearing the trains pass through downtown. It wouldn't be Corinth without them.