CalTrain horn noise increased -- many complaints
Original post made by Morris Brown, Menlo Park: Park Forest, on Jul 29, 2009
I take great interest in the last paragraph of the release.
"Grade-separated crossings, as proposed by high-speed rail, would eliminate the need for engineers to sound the horn. Caltrain has entered into an agreement with the California High-Speed Rail Authority to bring the service along the Caltrain corridor. "
Let me say, that quiet zones could be established along the corridor at a tiny fraction of the cost of grade separations, and would eliminate the need to sound the horn. Quiet zones require quad gates to be in place at crossings which are at grade. The cost is about $250K per crossing. CalTrain is about to install quad gates as a safety measure at the Fail Oaks crossing in Atherton.
So let me say to CalTrain, "why don't you install quad gates at all of your at grade crossing and establish quiet zones." After all, CalTrain is supposed to be a service for the communities. The voters in the 3 counties paid for the train corridor with their taxpayer funds.
CalTrain has estimated the cost of electrification and installing grade separated crossing from SF to SJ at about $4.8 billion. That cost was for CalTrain alone, not for inclusion of High Speed rail.
(CalTrain news release)
Media Contact: Christine Dunn, 650.508.6238
Location of Caltrain Horns Changed
During a recent routine safety inspection it was discovered that Caltrain's horns were not producing the distinct, separate, sequential blasts (tweet and toot) required by federal regulations.
Previously, the horns had been moved to the underside of the locomotives and cab cars in response to community concerns about noise. To comply with federal regulations the agency has returned the horns to their original location on top of the trains at least for the interim.
Moving the horns to the top of the locomotives and cab cars has increased the volume and the range of the sound. Caltrain is working to reduce the volume, while making sure that the horns remain within the range established by the Federal Railroad Administration.
"We have to balance neighborhood concerns against the need for safety," said Caltrain Deputy CEO Chuck Harvey. "It is important for people to remember that the engineers do not sound the horn gratuitously. They sound the horn to save lives and to comply with FRA requirements. We ask for the public's patience while we attempt to adjust the horns."
Caltrain engineers are required to sound the horn one-quarter mile before every grade crossing, where a street crosses the tracks. There are 44 crossings between San Francisco and San Jose. Engineers also sound the horn whenever they see a trespasser near the tracks.
Grade-separated crossings, as proposed by high-speed rail, would eliminate the need for engineers to sound the horn. Caltrain has entered into an agreement with the California High-Speed Rail Authority to bring the service along the Caltrain corridor.