Iowans who’ve been awakened in the middle of the night by a blaring train whistle might consider having that railroad crossing designed as a “quiet zone.”
Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis says train whistles may be annoying to some people, but they serve an important purpose. Quiet zones may help the inconvenience of hearing the horns but those horns are the only way train crews can warn unwary motorists who might be trying to cross the tracks that they’re approaching. Davis says quiet zones can be created but strict guidelines have to be met before one is designated. All crossings have to have gates and there can’t have been a fatal collision in the area for several years. Davis says people sometimes complain about the sound of train horns but they don’t understand the law.
Davis says “Until it’s established as a quiet zone, they’re following the rule that they’re supposed to.” Federal law requires that locomotive horns be sounded at all public grade crossings 15-to-20 seconds before entering a crossing, but not more than one-quarter mile in advance. More information on can be found at Union Pacific’s website www.up.com.