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New Quiet Zones To Help With Train Noise Pollution

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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.

About Kathryn Farr

Kathryn is a reporter at WUFT News. She can be reached at kfarr@ufl.edu and 407-637-0867. You can find her on twitter @kathrynlfarr.

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  • Little Birdie

    How the scam works.
    1. Feds trump state train horn laws.
    2. Train horns whistle whip people into submission.
    3. Railroad comes in and makes a fortune in overcharges and stolen signal equipment (OURS).
    4.Somebody (not railroads) has to pay for ridiculous priced liability insurance so railroad is hold harmless.
    5. WE will pay ridiculous amounts for railroad to service signals.
    6.The crossings for GPS crew-less trains hid behind the curtains not a problem for railroads any longer.
    7. Railroad directors pay themselves more millions we make up at check out lanes.
    8. The pedestrians that used to have train horns and something to walk on DIE. Winner for the railroad because they go into the evil doer trespasser file.
    9. Drivers that use to hear train horns when the junk crossing signals don’t work DIE. Winner for the railroad that’s the cities problem.
    10. Hungry kids die of starvation because We the People are really We the Railroad B–tches.

  • TechxasRR

    Kathryn, thanks for linking to the Operation Lifesaver website. That site has a lot of great information about how to stay safe around railroad tracks. Some key takeaways are to never trespass on railroad tracks and not to photograph from or do photography of people on railroad tracks.

    My question to you is: did you have permission from the railroad to be on those tracks and did you coordinate with the railroad to do your reporting and video from the railroad tracks? If not, you are guilty of trespassing and could be arrested and, far worse you and the camera operator could have easily been killed. It happens far too frequently (to amateurs and professionals alike).

    I’m not calling you on this to be snarky, but to try to save your life and the lives of some of your viewers. Last year (2016) there were 994 pedestrian trespass casualties in the US with 63 in Florida alone. (Source: Operation Lifesaver). Perhaps a story about how to easily prevent these tragedies would make up for your gross errors of judgement in “filming” this piece from the middle of a railroad track. Start by studying the information found online at Operation Lifesaver then contact your railroad sources for help in preparing your piece. You could also go online and find both irresponsible filming on railroad tracks as well as well crafted stories by reporters that, unlike you, understand the dangers of filming from the middle of the track.

    Even if it doesn’t air, what you learn may well save YOUR life!