Why Do We Still Hear Train Horns?

Union Pacific

I thought we were a quiet train zone. Why do we still hear horns?

The Quiet Zone that is in place was funded and constructed by UTA as part of the Frontrunner South Project.  It includes all the UTA crossings in Provo west of University Avenue. It also includes the Union Pacific tracks where those tracks are part of a combined crossing control with the UTA tracks, that is a single set of crossing gates. That has resulted in a complete Quiet Zone for both sets of tracks between University Avenue and Provo River.  The separated Union Pacific crossings, north of the river at 820 North, 1680 North and 2000 North, are not included in the Quiet Zone.

Likely the horn noise that is being heard by residents is from trains on the Union Pacific tracks at these separated crossings. When the Frontrunner Project was under design, and the establishment of the Quiet Zone was anticipated, the City investigated the possibility of including these three separated crossings in the Quiet Zone. Preliminary design work was completed for purposes of estimating costs, and being prepared to move forward, should funding come available. The cost estimate to provide the necessary improvements to include these crossings in the Quiet Zone was $1.5 Million ($500,000/crossing). This cost was consistent with UTA costs for constructing the necessary Quiet Zone improvements at their crossings. Unfortunately, the City was unsuccessful in identifying funds to complete these improvements at the separated Union Pacific crossings.

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  1. chris

    I would miss the horns terribly if they went away. When I am out of town I have trouble sleeping if there isn’t an occasional train horn.

    1. Rhonda Hinckley

      I have lived next to a train crossing for ten years and am hear to tell you that the train horns are significantly quieter. The Front runner has a ding ding as they pass through but nothing like the horns from the freight trains. If a train is stopped on the tracks and starts again there may be a horn to alert cars and of course if there is something or someone on the tracks well….we heard that sound before. I love the quieter Provo.

  2. Tristin

    I would not miss the horns in the least, and I hope the city will revisit the issue of these crossings in the near future. $1.5 million is no small chunk of money, but the added value to homes relatively close to these crossings would heavily outweigh the costs. Ask anyone that has moved into one such house recently.

    1. Brad

      I second this! And I did not just move in, I have lived here in the west end my whole life and would move if it was possible for me because I’m so tired of getting woke up throughout the night by the union Pacific horns at the 820 north crossing especially. I live about 6-8 blocks southwest of that crossing and cannot believe how the sound travels at night. Unlike others, I do not find the sound comforting, just loud and annoying. I see plenty of money being spent in other parts of the city, if these north of the river crossings happened to be in a more affluent part of town and bothered those residents who have always been considered to be more important, I’ll bet the extra funding would have been found. I too hope this issue with these north crossings will be reconsidered in the not too distant future.

  3. Gail

    Let’s see. The train tracks have been here as long as I can remember. I am 73 years old and live a block from the tracks. When people buy a house by the train tracks they should know that the trains are going to be noisy. Either accept the horns and trains or buy your house somewhere else. Have you heard the freeway? How are you going to keep that from being noisy? The sound walls don’t stop all the noise.

  4. Ella

    I would move away from this area in a heartbeat if I could! I was very concerned about the train noise before we moved in and the older tenants said the train only came by once during the night and it didn’t bother them. People said I would get used to it! How can ANYONE get used to such a loud, obnoxious noise??!! I don’t understand the logic behind the honking in certain areas of town and not in others! The gates work just fine on 820, 1680 and 2000 North. No honking needed in my opinion. Yes, you can hear the freeway, but it is NOTHING comparable to the train horns!

  5. Tom

    Something is not right here. I live near 820 and Independence Ave and almost every hour the trains hit their horns. My father came for a visit and was woken up at 4am by the blaring train horns. This needs to stop as it makes the homes here much less pleasing and causes many here to move. Please Provo do something about these train horns! Sooner more then later!

  6. David

    Its currently 1:07 am and 3 or 4 trains have blasted horns as they have passed over the last couple hours. I live near the 2000 N train crossing and this happens everyday/night. I have a fan to help dampen the noise, but as I lay awake almost every night its obviously not cutting it. I am a general contractor and moved into a newly built home a few months ago. I will be moving and I can tell you I will NEVER build anything near a non quiet-zoned area again.

  7. Ryan Roberts

    Maybe I just don’t understand how this works. Invoice at the crossing at 500 w in provo. According to the description, I am west of university avenue and there is but one crossing gate at this crossing which includes all tracks that are used both by uta and Union Pacific. Regardless the union trains blare their horns ridiculous amounts sometimes. I don’t mind the horn on ocassion, but when you are blasting it for thirty seconds straight while you are moving there is no reason for that. I’m starting to think the quiet zone just isn’t enforced around here.

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