Haight Sleuths Pursue Mysterious Nightly Train Whistle

By Matt Baume
|  Friday, Dec 3, 2010  |  Updated 6:00 AM PDT
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Haight Sleuths Pursue Mysterious Nightly Train Whistle

Have you heard the ghostly Haight train whistle?

For years, residents along the Panhandle have been bewildered by a loud nocturnal whistle. And now, finally, the blog Haighteration has decided to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Little is known about the noise. It's unpredictable, coming only every few weeks or even months. There are no trains in that part of town, so the origin is baffling.

Theories abound. The most likely is that an unnamed "tinkerer" has attached a train whistle to his car. But the description varies. "It's a dark, raised-up, full size pick up," says one witness. "It was a sedan I think. Possibly with sweet rims," says another.

Or could it be Caltrain? "Under certain atmospheric conditions and especially at night, you can hear Caltrain engines as they honk for the crossing at 7th St," wrote one commenter. "It's perfectly audible all the way in Hayes Valley so I'm assuming it could be heard in the Haight."

Don't confuse the mystery-whistle with the foghorn on Golden Gate Bridge. That sounds regularly when visibility is low. You can check to see if the foghorn is operational by calling it -- yes, that's right, the foghorn has its own phone number. It's 415-202-3809.

There's a bounty out for evidence of the horn's origin. Whoever can put the riddle to rest will get a handsome Haighteration t-shirt. Break out the forensic kits!

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