Train horns go silent in Flagstaff, AZ

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The first train whistled into Flagstaff on Aug. 1, 1882, touching off a "noisy and rough celebration," according to an account by the late historian Platt Cline. All the men in town were armed, and many shot off their firearms to mark the event.

On Tuesday, more than a century later, there was another celebration at the train station in Flagstaff, and in keeping with the theme, it turned out to be even quieter than planned.

Mayor Sara Presler picked up one of the small wooden train whistles given to community leaders to commemorate the silencing of train horns at all five city crossings, only to learn in front of a crowd of more than 100 people that the toy didn't work.

Presler would later joke that she must have gotten the "quiet zone" train whistle.

The mayor said she was excited that the horns had been silenced, noting that hotel owners could finally distance themselves from the negative reviews on the Internet from guests who were rudely awakened by the sound of passing trains.

Others predicted the reviews would be mixed.

"It depends on whether they are train buffs or they stayed in a hotel the night before," said Kathy Hales, who has worked in the city's visitors center at the train station full-time for the last four years and has heard tens of thousands of trains close up.

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