The blaring of a train horn is soon to disappear from some Marion County railway crossings.
Marion County has partnered with CSX Transportation and the Florida Department of Transportation to establish three quiet zones at track intersections along U.S. Highway 301.
The quiet zones are located at County Road 42, 500 feet east of U.S. 301, Southeast 135th Street, 1700 feet east of U.S. 301 and Southeast 147th Street, 4500 feet east of U.S. 301.
These quiet zones are established in areas along railroad tracks where train horns are not routinely sounded. Trains are no longer required to sound their horns at these intersections, unless deemed necessary for safety reasons, according to the Marion County Office of the County Engineer.
The Marion County Office of the County Engineer, in conjunction with the FLDOT and CSX, upgraded and updated crossing gate arms, medians, signage and warning devices.
This change came after residents commented on the disturbance of late night horns.
“The standards for quiet zones were developed by state transportation departments and the respective railroad companies,” Marion County spokesperson Stacie Causey said.
“Quiet zones are evaluated and established due to national perspective rather than a local one,” she said.
Local complaints led the DOT and respective railroad companies to develop typical standards to follow so the sounding of horns could be minimized. The changes to enable these locations to be deemed quite zones were funded at the local level.
“The horns are used as a safety mechanism,” Pinsky Railroad General Manager Matt Schwerin said.
Some citizens voiced their concerns online that this change would lead to more train-related deaths. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there were 28 train-caused deaths in Marion County in 2016.
Operation Lifesaver lists ways to stay safe at crossings and long tracks, as well as how to improve rail safety.