That awful screeching sound? Just a light rail vehicle going by
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At first, regular Port Authority rail rider David Mancuso thought he was hearing things.
"I'm usually not awake in the morning," said Mr. Mancuso, who boards the T at Mt. Lebanon for his commute to Downtown.
Then he thought the siren-like sound coming from the light-rail vehicle was a malfunction. Then, after hearing it come from other vehicles, it occurred to him that perhaps it was a safety measure, a sort of nonstop horn to warn vehicles and pedestrians that a train was approaching.
Turns out it's a byproduct of good-old-fashioned preventive maintenance.
The noise, which is something akin to an air raid siren or a cat in extreme distress, is being generated by the rails. A contractor is grinding them throughout the 26.2-mile Light Rail Transit system.
The work, which is recommended every decade or so, leaves a temporary "texture" on the rail surface that emits the unusual sound when a train rolls over it, authority spokeswoman Heather Pharo explained.
"It should diminish over time. It could be six weeks, it could be a month," she said. "It's a temporary inconvenience for a long-term benefit."
The authority has gotten a few complaints about the grinding process, which also generates quite a racket. "It's noisy when they do it, it's noisy afterward," said authority spokesman Jim Ritchie. He said the work is expected to be completed in a week or so.
The ongoing project is not expected to cause any serious service disruptions this weekend, but there may be some detours next weekend, Ms. Pharo said. Details will be released next week.
Loram Maintenance of Way Inc. is doing the work under a $1.3 million contract.
First Published August 11, 2012 12:00 am