Train Noise Endangers Denver's Development

A 2005 Federal Railroad Administration rule change that requires engineers to blare their horns at at-grade rail crossings is threatening the quality of life and economic future of communities across the Denver area.
December 9, 2013, 8am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Across the Front Range, blaring train horns mandated by an FRA rule change are "killing sleep and the potential for much-needed economic development," reports Monte Whaley. 

"You have rail traffic sounding off at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. anymore, like clockwork," Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez said. "If we're going to add and increase the density of the housing in the downtown area, which is one of our goals, then how do you deal with that train horn noise in the middle of the night?"

Unfortunately, as much as the railroad might sympathize with the concerns, reducing the noise requires more than simply asking nicely. 

"Fort Collins is one of several Front Range communities weighing spending millions of dollars to create 'quiet zones,' where trains could pass safely without disturbing the peace," notes Whaley. "But quieting train noise under Federal Railroad Administration rules requires communities to show that the revised crossings will prevent vehicles from entering while a locomotive is coming through."

The Federal Railroad Administration is scheduled to hold hearings next year to examine relaxing the train horn rules.

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Published on Sunday, December 8, 2013 in The Denver Post
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