CITY ESTABLISHING QUIET ZONE ON FECR
Quiet zone is expected to be operational in four to six months.
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (December 29, 2017)— The City of West Palm Beach-- in conjunction with Brightline, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency (PBTPA), and the Federal Railway Administration (FRA)-- is working to establish a quiet zone on the Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) between 15th Street and Gregory Place, a 5-mile long stretch of railway in our City. With Brightline adding passenger service on the FECR, the City made this decision, as it is in the best interest of our residents. The quiet zone is expected to be operational in four to six months. Until then, both freight and passenger trains on the FECR will continue to blow their horns. When the quiet zone is implemented, neither freight trains nor passenger trains will be required to blow their horns unless there is an emergency.
According to the FRA, locomotive engineers are required to sound train horns at least 15-seconds and no more than 20 seconds in advance of all public grade crossings. However, localities have an opportunity to mitigate the effects of train horn noise by establishing quiet zones. In a quiet zone, railroads are not required to sound their horns when approaching public highway-rail grade crossings. Train horns may still be used in emergency situations or to comply with other federal regulations or railroad operating rules.
Implementing a quiet zone is a process. The steps being undertaken by the City and our partners include the following:
· The City worked with the PBTPA to identify supplemental safety improvements at key crossings in our City. The City is grateful to the PBTPA for securing the funding for these improvements.
· Brightline is expected to complete infrastructure improvements to key crossings in our City by this spring.
· Once completed, the City will inspect these improvements and submit findings to the FRA and other organizations.
· 21 days after the City files these documents, the City can officially issue a Notice of Establishment for the quiet zone.
· This entire process takes approximately four to six months during which time train engineers will continue to blow their horns per federal regulations.
Implementing a quiet zone is a process, mandated by the federal government.
“Once implemented, this quiet zone will go a long way toward improving the quality of life of our residents,” said Assistant City Administrator Scott Kelly. “We ask the public to be patient at this time, as the quiet zone is coming.”
Brightline has committed to completing grade crossings improvements by early spring, at which time the City anticipates being able to take the first step in inspecting these improvements and sharing our findings with the FRA.
There will be a second phase of quiet zone implementation in our City, once Brightline expands service to Orlando. At that time, the City intends to expand the quiet zone from 15th Street to the north end of the City.
The City encourages everyone to follow the laws and rules in place to keep people safe around railway tracks. The public is strongly encouraged to make smart decisions. Look and listen for a train as you approach all railroad crossings - obey all signs, warning lights and gates. Never try to beat a train. Always expect a train on any track, and avoid distractions when you approach a crossing.