Fremont Quiet Zone Program

General Project Description


  • Federal transportation safety policy requires the sounding of train horns in advance of public grade crossings.  Horn blasts have a volume level in the range of 96 to 110 dbs
  • In 2006, a railroad crossing "quiet zone" rule was established.  Local communities can enact a “quiet zone” if certain safety measures are provided, such as median islands at railroad crossings or 4-quadrant gates.
  • In 2007, Fremont commissioned a feasibility study on establishing local quiet zones and determining what safety measures should be added at each crossing. 
  • The City has established quiet zones at the following locations:
- Stevenson Boulevard 
            - Niles (Nursery Avenue)

  • The City has identified four quiet zone projects. These are listed in the following priority order based on the project cost, the number of trains passing through the crossing, and the area of residential communities affected by the train horns. 
1Centerville Group (Blacow, Dusterberry, Maple, Fremont, Shinn) + Clarke
2. Walnut
 3. Gomes
4. Warren
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  • The Niles (Nursery Avenue) Safety Project is funded. Click here for project details
  • The Centerville to Clarke Railroad Safety Improvement project is seeking funding, Click here for project details
  • Fremont is seeking regional funding to implement the other quiet zone projects.

How to Report a Concern


You can file a Violation Report with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), which is the federal government agency that oversees railroads. The Federal rule enacted by the Federal Railway Administration in 2005 requires that railroad employees must blow the horn 15-20 seconds prior to occupying any public highway-rail crossing at any time of day. The Federal rule specifies the volume, length, and pattern of the sound of train horns. Federal law requires train engineers to do a routine sounding of their train horns – two long bursts, a short burst, and one long burst – every time a train approaches a railroad crossing unless the crossing is within a quiet zone. Within a quiet zone, routine soundings are prohibited. Non-routine soundings of the train horn are allowed within a quiet zone when a train engineer determines that the horn should be sounded to prevent imminent injury, death, or property damage. A potential horn violation in a quiet zone would include the constant sounding of the specific routine horn pattern mentioned above, during a non-emergency situation

If you believe the train operator is in violation of this rule, the FRA Violation Report Form is the best method for filing a complaint. In order to complete the form, the FRA requests the location and railroad owner. In order to find this information, you can input your address or the address near the alleged violation into the FRA's interactive map, which is available at: http://fragis.fra.dot.gov/GISFRASafety/. The map also shows crossing numbers, crossing data, and mileposts.  The crossings where train operators use a horn are marked with yellow dots on the map. The number next to these dots is the crossing number, which you may need to include in your report. You can use these crossing numbers to indicate where the alleged violation occurred.  

The form will also ask for the date, time, a description of the alleged violation, your contact information, and some additional information. The Violation Report form is available online at: https://www.fra.dot.gov/app/violationreport.

Safety Around Railroad Crossings


It is very important to stay clear of the railroad right of way. Never use tracks as a path or walkway. Not only will this cause the engineer to blow the horn, but it is dangerous and illegal.

When pulling up to a railroad crossing, do not drive all the way up to the crossing gates. You are required to stop and wait at the "Stop Here" signs, or you will receive a traffic ticket. An engineer that observes vehicles pulled all the way up to the crossing gate will blow the horn to warn motorists of their approach. It is important to remember that train engineers will sound the horn as a warning:

  • If the automatic warning and traffic signal devices are malfunctioning or out of service
  • If there is a safety concern at the station (however as required the train rings the engine bell upon arriving and leaving the train station)
  • In an area where construction crews are within or along the railroad right-of-way
  • In an emergency
  • When there is a trespasser on the tracks

Resources

Federal Railroad Administration
Train Horn Rule and Quiet Zones
Safety Fact Sheet


Contact Information


If you have any questions regarding the project, please contact:
Jeanne Suyeishi
jsuyeishi@fremont.gov