For the most part, efforts at eliminating the sound of train horns from trains going through Washougal has been eliminated.
This is much more pleasant for the residents, as several years ago the Federal Railroad Administration tightened the restrictions on trains sounding horns at crossings. Horns were required to be louder, and horn blowing coming into the crossing would have to start as much as 1/4 of a mile away, even if the crossing were protected by automatic gates and lighs.
This was done to prevent people from driving out in front of trains, even when the gates were working just fine and the gates were down.
This increased horn noise was not popular with residents along railway lines anywhere in the USA, but the Federal Railroad Administration could show that this decreased the number of people killed by trains at crossings, and since they were told to "do something" about the number of people killed at crossings this forced them to require this.
It is possible to get an exception to this regulation, but only if certain safety improvements are made to the gates and lights.
In Washougal, this has included the addition of a median strip, so that people are unable to drive around the gates quite as easily.
Today, you will not hear train horns at crossings in town, unless the engineer on the train sees something that needs to have its horn blown at (ie, someone about to enter the crossing anyway, or the gates don't appear to be working, etc.).
Washougal was the first city in the region to establish a complete horn-free zone at many of its railway crossings.
If you decide to enjoy the water be sure to bring watersocks or sandels. There are some very sharp stones along the rivers and some broken glass that careless people have left about.