Quiet Zones – Not So Simple

Nothing seems to be as elusive as qualifying a railroad crossing as a “quiet zone.” A “quiet zone” is a crossing where alternative safety measures have been implemented so trains do not need to blow their horns when approaching.
We have been working on qualifying some of our railroad crossings for over two years now. But even those areas of our city that are a great distance from the tracks can still hear the loud horns of trains.

We heard an update from Greg Beckstrom on the progress of our proposed “quiet zones” in a recent council meeting (September 4, 2012). As usual, Greg’s update was detailed and understandable.

The upshot is it’s a complex process in a highly regulated field, and while our attempts up to this point have not worked, we’re taking another approach. Rather than get into the details on the blog, here’s the link to Greg’s comments, or you can watch the video below.

If the horns bug you, it’s worth the few minutes to listen to his presentation. Just remember, it’s been a frustrating process for everyone.
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  1. I love trains! I even love to hear the horns — I just heard one, just now.

    I can’t wait to ride the FrontRunner into Salt Lake City. I sent a request to UDOT to ask if I could ride during the testing period and tried to up my chance of acceptance by saying I would write an article about my experience. They told me that people weren’t allowed to ride during the testing period and then asked what sort of article I intended to write. Figuring that a Facebook post might not impress them, I guess I’ll just wait for the 8th of December.

  2. There’s a noise issue? I love hearing the trains. I’d rather hear a train horn than the constant base boost of the cars going my my place these days.

    I spent a year at college living 20 feet from the track and right near an intersection. Ya, those first few nights were rough, but after about a week I slept soundly through the night. *shrug* I’d rather be safe than sorry.

  3. Anonymous

    We live about 10 blocks from the tracks (at 820 N) and we can hear the horns go off occasionally at night, and sometimes during the day. We don’t mind the sound at all.

  4. I live a street away. The problem is that they blare their horns at east twice in the middle of the night for a good minute at a time at least and wake people up. No bueno when you have little ones and junky windows. When I used to live a few blocks away my windows were like 100 years old and they would rattle every time the trains drove by, haha. I grew up near an air force base and airport and it was awesome to hear those planes fly by, but these trains are just insane. Of course I need to replace my windows, but that will cost thousands of dollars which I don’t happen to have laying around right now. I am grateful to hear the city is still working towards to goal of implementing quiet zones. Any idea where I can get info on the trains schedules? I was 20 minutes late getting my daughter from school the other day because a freight train was stopped on the tracks and traffic was backed up trying to get out onto University… Usually I plan better, but it was dead stopped. I hope nothing was wrong.

  5. Jim

    The trains are terrible in my neighborhood and on Sunday morning when they go off at 5:00 am and wake me up it is quite frustrating. I hope that they can work out something. I appreciate Provo CIty trying to find a better solution. Thanks!

  6. Yeah, I’m not a fan of the train horns either. During the day it’s not an issue, but I would rather not wake up/fall asleep to them. I live on Center St currently and they seem pretty loud (especially in the winter); I could hear them pretty loud on 450 N when I lived there, too. I understand the safety issue, but am glad the noise issue is being discussed!

  7. Two years? You underestimate. The “quiet trains” effort has been going on for at least eight years. Can’t anyone hold the railroad accountable? Two administrations have been unable to get Union Pacific to comply with municipal regulations. They are not above the law. If Greg can’t get it done, assign someone else. Make them stop!

  8. Wow. This whole process sounds like it’s been a nightmare. But I appreciate you guys working hard for this and working to meet all of the safety standards. Keep up the good work!

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