EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

June 24, 2014

Bradford residents tired of train noise, fumes

HAVERHILL — Neighbors of the Bradford commuter rail station said the decade-long problem of trains idling there for long periods of time has yet to be resolved — and they’ve had enough.

Forty residents signed a petition asking the city to enforce federal and state laws that limit train idling to no more than a half hour at a time. The neighbors gave the petition to City Council.

The neighbors said the idling lasts two hours or more on many weekday mornings between 4 and 7 a.m. They are concerned with noise and train emissions, which they said contain unhealthy particles such as lead.

In a letter to the City Council as well as to state and federal officials, the neighbors said the state’s locomotive idling rule is a federally enforceable regulation that prohibits all unnecessary diesel locomotive idling for a continuous period longer than 30 minutes.

The neighbors want police to enforce the law and said police have the power to issue fines ranging from $500 to $25,000.

“We want the MBTA to become good neighbors and comply with whatever laws are on the books,” said Germain Avenue resident Bert LaCerte, who for years has fought for quality-of-life issues in his neighborhood.

The petition was signed by residents of Verndale Street, Front Street, South New Street, Germain Avenue and South Merrill Street. Those streets are near the layover station, where commuter trains warm up their diesel engines and get all of their systems operating in the early morning before making their first runs into Boston.

The neighborhood concerns will be discussed by the City Council tonight.

“One of the key things that’s been promised for years is for the MBTA to install plug-in stations for all locomotives,” LaCerte said. “These stations are used to connect to a train’s main engine so they don’t have to warm up the engine by idling.”

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