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Trains across America to toot their thanks this afternoon

Mike Desmond

If you hear a blaring train horn this afternoon, it might not be because a car or person is too close to a rail crossing.

U.S. train horns can deliver an ear-splitting jolt to drivers sitting in traffic or people drifting off to sleep at home, but they will be put to another use Thursday.

At 3 p.m., trains across the U.S. will sound their horns to honor the transportation employees who are considered essential workers during the new coronavirus crisis.

Amtrak trains, along with regional partner trains across the United States, plan to give two blasts of their horns in a salute to transportation workers, as well as health care workers, first-responders, child care workers, grocery store employees and other workers providing essential services during the pandemic.

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