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Loud Complaints from Village Officials Make for Railroad Quiet Zones

An agreement that was years in the making has officially stifled the annoying train horns on the south side of town.

Canadian National Railroad has officially completed work on the installation of quiet zones.

The buyout of the old EJ&E Railroad by Canadian National Railroad initially forced an uproar in a community that was accustomed to minimal rail traffic along the tracks on the south side of town. Since the buyout, CN has significantly boosted freight traffic on the tracks.

While the village initially fought the plan tooth and nail, officials ultimately chose to work with the railroad in exchange for improvements along the track. Key to the agreement was the establishment of a designated quiet zone.

Another part of the municiple agreement with CN was a plan to ensure that emergency vehicles could clear the tracks when necessary. Each of the municipalities that rely on Lincolnway Communications Center were provided funds to update 911 call center equipment, allowing it to track train locations. The tracking equipment signals the 911 center and alerts it about which crossing are clear so that emergency responders can be directed that way to avoid delays at the crossing.

Quiet zone equipment installation was the lst on thelist of things to do. Work on the quit zone equipment was completed last week. It impacts neighborhoods within near ear shot of the CN crossings at Gougar Road, Nelson Road, Cedar Road, Spencer Road and Schoolhouse Road, should make

Village Engineer Will Nash, who has been coordinating the project with CN, said designated "quiet zones mean that during normal operations the train engineers do not need to blow their horns."

However, if the engineer feels there is an unsafe condition they can still blow the horns. "Therefore, there may be times when train horns will be blown," he said.

If horns still blowing too frequently, alert the village.

Nash said, "If a train horn is heard we need as much information as possible," but at a minimum the village needs the following:

  • When did you hear the horn? (Note the time, date and specific day of the week.)
  • What direction was the train traveling?
  • Where were you when the horn sounded unnecessarily?

"Any additional information would be helpful," he said. For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Engineering Department at 815-462-6450. "We will track this information and forward it to the Federal Rail Authority which enforces the quiet zone."

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Sally Van Cura November 09, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Has anyone seen a difference?
Kimberly November 09, 2012 at 01:02 PM
I just heard a train blow its horn 3 times last night right around midnight. It is better, but not silent. Glad to know the contact information above, thanks.
Kimberly November 09, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Just heard the horns blasting again - 7:15am. I can hear it inside my house, so I'm not sure if they are necessary as I'm not sitting at the Nelson Road crossing.
lala November 09, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Well it does say if the engineer feels there is an unsafe condition they can still blow the horns. Maybe there was someone going around the gates.
Michele V November 09, 2012 at 03:42 PM
"Village Engineer Will Nash, who has been coordinating the project with CN, said designated "quiet zones mean that during normal operations the train engineers do not need to blow their horns." What is considered "normal operations"? I've heard several blasts on several days early in the morning when I was still in bed. If the engineers are allowed to blow horns at their discretion when it is dark out, then really, what's the point?
Kimberly November 09, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Maybe you haven't been at the crossing on Nelson Road. When they created the quiet zones, they made it impossible to go around the gates, literally impossible unless you are on foot. I highly doubt there was someone ON THE TRACKS last night at midnight and again a 7:15 this morning. The people at CN are just being jerks. The quiest zones were put in place and then the engineers were given several weeks to "adjust" to the quiet zones. Every train blew the horn, not once, not twice, but three or more times. Then went the quiet zones were enforceable on or around November 1st, all of a sudden we didn't hear any horns for 3 or 4 days. I find it amazing that for several weeks while they were adjusting they kept blowing horns .... yet on a specific day, they stop and now they/some have started again. I think CN has it out for New Lenox/Baldermann because they tried to play hard ball with filing a lawsuit, and unfortunately, those of us who live near the tracks are paying the price. Oh and before you suggest I move, I'd love to move except the value of my home has decreased over $100,000 in the 6 years since I bought it. So much for the articles in The Patch about home values in New Lenox, sorry but I have to call BS on that!! OK, I'll quit blabbing, off to call Mr. Nash and then I'll be back to let you all know!
lala November 09, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Kimberley - I have driven over the tracks on Nelson. As a former railroader I can tell that the horns are not only sounded at the crossing. Perhaps the engineer saw someone/something crossing the tracks before he got to the crossing. Maybe he saw a few cars fly under the gates before they went all the way down. If not a quiet zone, federal law requires three blasts before the crossing. Maybe all the engineers did not get the memo. I can thinks of hundreds of times that has happened to me. Let us know what Nash tells you.
Joe Piscipoe November 09, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Wait until some van full of kids gets creamed at a silent-crossing. Then we'll see some finger-pointing.
Kimberly November 09, 2012 at 09:15 PM
I spoke with Pat, Mr. Nash's secretary and she said she would pass the information onto Mr. Nash. After I spoke with Pat, my husband mentioned that he heard the horns blow at 1:24am and the night before at 12:08am. I never thought of the horns being blown while not at a crossing, and the 2 times I heard it the horn was blown 3 times, so maybe there is something on the tracks at the same time every night. I doubt it, but given the fact that according to lala (see above post) that an engineer can/will blast if they see something on the track, I think that gives CN an excuse if they blow the horns for no reason at all. I'd like to think it was just human error. Joe Piscipoe, if a van full of kids get creamed at a silent crossing in New Lenox, then they really, really had to want to get hit - the crossings look pretty secure and safe to me. But what do I know, I'm just some schmuck living on the wrong side of the tracks.

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