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Horns to toot a tad bit longer

DEL MAR — Beginning in mid-March, Del Marians may notice the wayside horn at the Coast Boulevard train crossing tooting a little bit longer.

The Federal Railroad Administration recently amended the regulations that govern wayside horns to ensure the devices sound for the entire time the lead locomotive is traveling through the crossing.

The horn must sound at least 15 seconds before a train arrives at a crossing and while the lead locomotive travels through it. To comply with the new regulation, Del Mar’s wayside system will blow about five seconds longer than it has been since it was installed in September 2012.

“The FRA is the law of the land, so there’s nothing we can do about it,” said resident Hershell Price, who led the effort to have the directional system installed in the seaside city. “Compared to what we had in the past, this is minimal.

“Five more seconds is just one honk,” he added. “I don’t think it will have any effect. I don’t think it’s going to make anyone terribly upset. But if there are any complaints I’ll let (North County Transit District) know about it.”

Train horns will be noticeably less frequent during the first two weekends in March — and completely absent March 15 and March 16 — due to construction on Camp Pendleton.

The six Amtrak trains that serve all eight Coaster stations will not operate March 1, 2, 8 and 9, and all rail service between Oceanside and San Diego will be suspended March 15 and March 16.