Dear readers, this marker is placed near the railroad tracks, close to the Woodmere Branch of Traverse Area District Library. What does that mysterious “W” stand for? And who should pay attention to it?
Here’s your clue: Your editors believe this to be rather antiquated, and feel that the “W” might be better replaced with a “H” for modern times.
Readers Rebecca and Robert hit the right notes with their answers! Indeed, the “W” on this marker stands for “Whistle,” which has been replaced on modern railroads with horns (and why we suggest the “H” needs to replace the “W” on these markers). Read Robert’s full explanation here:
“This is a whistle post that notifies the engineer that there is a road crossing where the whistle/now horn should be blown. Two longs, a short and a long blast of the whistle or horn/s is the Federally required law to inform people that a train is coming and they should be prepared to stop short of the crossing. Nowadays there are quiet zones in some localities that forbid the blowing of the whistle or horn/horns at crossings. In this case, the crossings are well protected by flashers and gates to keep motorists from crossing when a train is coming.”
Our readers are simply brilliant! Thanks, Rebecca and Robert!