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VIDEO: Connecticut becomes first New England state with grade crossing horns NEWSWIRE

By | October 26, 2016

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MERIDEN, Conn. — On Monday, the Connecticut Department of Transportation announced that Connecticut would become the first state in New England to install automated horn systems, commonly known as wayside horns, at various rail at-grade crossings. Installed as part of the department’s noise mitigation efforts along the CTrail Hartford Line, the first horn became operational today at the Cooper Street crossing in Meriden.

Trains News Wire contributor Scott A. Hartley recorded video of a northbound Amtrak Vermonter train at that location.

Department Commissioner James P. Redeker states, “As we gear up for service launch on the Hartford Line, we are eager to be at the forefront of wayside horn system installation in Connecticut and recognize the benefits it brings to communities along the line.”

A wayside horn system consists of stationary horns mounted on poles at active rail at-grade crossing. The system is designed to provide a consistent audible warning to motorists and pedestrians upon the approach of a train to the at-grade crossing. Wayside horns take the place train-mounted horns, which typically are activated up to a half mile in advance of the crossing. By focusing audible warnings toward the roadways approaching at-grade crossings, wayside horns reduce noise associated with railroad at-grade crossings.

The installation of wayside horns helps the department satisfy one of the conditions of the 2012 Environmental Assessment prepared for the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Program, which requires noise associated with the enhanced rail service to be mitigated near sensitive noise receptors, such as residential neighborhoods, educational institutions and recreational areas.

“The installation of wayside horns is consistent with the department’s commitment to safety at grade crossings and fulfills our obligation to reduce noise associated with the Program, thereby improving quality of life for our neighbors along the corridor,” said John Bernick, department assistant rail administrator. “We will look to install additional systems along the Hartford Line in specific areas to reduce train horn noise as we approach service launch.”

The CTrail Hartford Line service will provide more frequent, convenient and faster passenger rail service between New Haven, Hartford and Springfield by increasing the number of round trip trains from six daily Amtrak intercity and regional trains to a total of 17 round trip trains a day to Hartford, and 12 trains per day to Springfield. The majority of the existing rail stations will be replaced and several new stations will be built. The expanded service and new stations are expected to increase ridership, improve the high speed and passenger rail system serving the northeast, expand intermodal transportation options, encourage economic development and create more livable and sustainable communities.

More information is available online.

— A Connecticut Department of Transportation news release. Oct. 24, 2016.

23 thoughts on “VIDEO: Connecticut becomes first New England state with grade crossing horns NEWSWIRE

  1. 3X the ‘- – . -‘ crossing warning is hardly “noise mitigation”. Mr. Bernick must be a lawyer, not a railroader.

  2. What good will these horns be. First off today’s car’s have too much sound proofing. Combine that with people talking & texting on cell phone’s or having the radio booming away. How are they going to notice these crossing horns. People drive like they are in a fog. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen POLICE CARS & FIRE TRUCKS responding to emergencies with their lights flashing and sirens blaring and are having a tough time getting thru traffic.

    You think drivers will hear these horns. THINK NOT!

  3. I’m sorry, that is not a consistent sound coming from those horns, that is intermittent…if it was consistent there wouldn’t be any break in the sound…consistent and constant happen to be synonyms

  4. Solution in search of a problem; if the bell, flashing cross buck lights and the gate arm in the D-O-W-N position don’t give you a clue about what is about to happen, then maybe you shouldn’t be behind the wheel, or be allowed out of your house unescorted.

  5. I don’t know who installed them but on UPs mainline thru Kearney NE they have been in use for sometime now.

  6. Cool video but I doubt this will do any good. Just another waste of money so that some politician can say they did something whether or not it is necessary. A good portion of people today are brain-dead. I’m getting sick of dodging them on the streets because their heads are stuck in their phones as they walk out into traffic. And as someone posted the windows are up and the music is blaring and in the end they will become candidates for the Darwin award.

  7. I’ve always thought wayside horns were the dumbest, most ironic solution for the creation of a quiet zone. Not only is it NOT quiet (so much you can hear the sound bouncing off distant objects), but the timing is all wrong with the approach of the train. So the horn repeating the crossing warning sequence three or four times, plus long after the train occupies the crossing, makes much more noise than the locomotive would have, with the engineer blowing a proper horn sequence ONE time! And like others have said, nobody will hear it anyways. Some people don’t even see the gates and run right into the side of trains.

  8. Doesn’t that standard, with the square box on top, indicate a silly “Quiet Zone”? Not very quiet, methinks.

  9. Played the video of the horn at the crossing. Total, dead silence. Saw the train coming but NO horn or horns. Would
    like to hear the warning horn to make a judgement.

  10. To the people complaining about the noise: Did you conveniently overlook the rail crossing when you relocated next to the tracks? Now the “horn” blows 3 times as much as previous. Good job with that noise mitigation.

  11. I don’t think this is a bad idea. Sound can be manipulated to focus on specific areas and reduced where not needed. For example, it appears the boxes are positioned to direct the sound toward traffic and pedestrians instead of being distributed in a circle. Thus, the horns are focused where needed and not the whole neighborhood.

  12. Unless I’m wrong. Shouldn’t the X be lit up? Also, isn’t it a bit redundant to have a train horn along with another horn at the crossing?

  13. If I’m reading the story right, the stationary horns are aimed at the roadway, not down the tracks as the train horns are. The train horns aren’t being used.
    This means the horns don’t need to be as loud.
    And, “consistent” in this story means they are the same, not constant. IOW, the horns sound in the same manner each time.

    Will they actually help to reduce grade crossing crashes? Maybe. But I remember a car advertisement from many years ago that started with a view from the driver’s seat, as the car was going down the road. The view then switched to one from the outside where we could see a train approaching, and we could hear the horn. Switch back to the interior, and the horn all but disappeared. A voice-over bragged about the quiet interior.
    Evidently, others thought the same as I did, that this wasn’t a good way to demonstrate this, as I never saw the ad again.
    And cars are quieter now.

  14. A wayside horn is one mounted at the grade crossing and directed toward the roadway traffic. It can replace the original “W” signal for the railroad, and generally includes a flashing red “X” facing the railroad sides. A Quiet zone means neither a train horn nor a wayside horn is required, but specific requirements for curb height approaching a grade crossing, specific signage, etc. are required, and the local community has to request that configuration, and receive FRA approval.

    In Dallas, DART uses a “W” symbol to call for a “whistle”, which is variable volume and generally not audible to anyone in a car with the A/C operating and windows up, which is about 50% of the time year round. I call it a “peanut whistle” in honor of the small plastic devices that used to be provided with some candies. There are certain DART Rail grade crossings which are traversed at “full track speed” of 65 MPH where the intersection is posted as “H” rather than “W”. To the train operator, that means two blasts of a solenoid-operated air horn via a push button on the operator console. On, or Off. A few do it correctly, many do it incorrectly, and some don’t bother to do it at all. That horn is commercially available. I have one mounted in my car, complete with a compressed air source.

    DART claims they are exempt from FRA practice, and are not required to provide the ____ ____ __ ____> horn sounding the FRA prescribes even for a 10 MPH freight railroad. I’ve had several conversations with DART people, and they say they will ignore both the FRA requirement and “quiet zones” designated within their member communities and do whatever their own “safety engineers” deem appropriate. If you’ve even had a conversation with a tree stump, you get the general idea how that went.

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