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City and state officials were trying to discern Wednesday, April 29, why several residents were complaining about train horns blowing in the early hours of the morning. State Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale said Wauwatosa is legally supposed to be a 24-hour quiet zone for trains, and the city has not lost that designation. He was not sure if these exceptions could explain the recent horns heard in Wauwatosa but said he is working to resolve the situation. People in Lakeshore, Ont., want this train to stop blowing its whistle so much when it passes through town. In the wake of a train accident that killed two young girls in Lakeshore, Ont., on June 10, residents there are calling for fewer train whistles as locomotives pass through town.
Neighbours living approximately 10 kilometres west of of the crash scene have started a campaign to keep the noise down as trains pass by their homes. Wynter Williams, 6, and her sister Brooklyn, 3, died when the minivan they were in collided with a CP Railway freight train. Their father, 27-year-old Andrew Williams, and their four-year-old brother, Dryden, suffered critical injuries.
According to the Ministry of Transportation, There have been 11 train accidents in lakeshore since 1990. Bain said public works staff is now investigating the railway crossing to see if any changes need to be done.
The Olde Towne Bake Shoppe is a bakery and weekend breakfast place that operates in the McGregor-Cowan House, one of the oldest surviving buildings in Windsor. A local theatre group has commissioned a play about Canada's missing and murdered Indigenous women. It wasn’t long before all talk of spending money to reduce noise at crossings came to a halt as the high speed rail (SEHSR project) became the focus of conversation.  The easy answer to the issue of train noise disturbance appeared to be a matter of waiting for the quiet afforded by new tracks and grade separated crossings. We all remember the sometimes heated debate that went on for over a year at public meetings regarding the high speed train route through downtown, and plans for a new regional transit system that included new downtown routes for commuter and light rail projects. Though there is uncertainty about the future of high speed rail, the answer is still to wait. The West Street crossing is located just a few hundred yards south of the Harrington Street crossing, between North and Jones Street.  The report recommends the use of a 4-quadrant gate, but also notes that due to the skew in the tracks the gates could require the closure of the current entrance to the adjacent automotive business that may require the property to be condemned. We commend the city for doing the study, acknowledging that the day will come when passenger trains bring needed public transit options to our city, and we will see but no longer hear the freight trains. But the DLA is curious.  Many of us live downtown and have learned to accommodate noise that at one time disturbed our sleep.  Is the train noise like distant sirens that wake visitors, yet pass beneath our consciousness, having become used to the routine?  We acknowledge that living in a city is sometimes a process of learning to live in close proximity with others, for the good and sometimes for the challenging! Let us know what you think.  Is this still the issue it was in 2009?  Or have you blended into the rhythms of the city, willing to wait for what the future brings? Just learned that the State of Colorado is working with the Federal Railroad Administration to make it easier for communities to implement quiet zones. I’m sure you’ll delete this comment, but you guys need to get over yourselves and stop trying to waste taxpayer money! So you move downtown and are surprised that there are trains and not only trains but streets crossing train tracks. Late at night you hear them, even from my neighborhood a few miles away, the trains that roll through downtown Tampa past the quieted high-rises, blowing their horns.
But downtown Tampa is no longer the ghost town it once was at night, back when the saddest McDonald's you ever saw was pretty much the hub of activity, except of course for an old bar actually called the Hub. Downtown now is not just tall office buildings but high-rise residences like Element and SkyPoint and another one planned near the Hillsborough River. Apparently a lonely-sounding train horn drifting through your window from miles off is not the same as one bleating directly next to where you live hours before your alarm goes off. Certainly, you could argue that those who choose to live in those high-rises should probably have noted the train tracks, or that with urban living comes the jarring melody of sirens, helicopters and the pounding of perennial street work. Once I met a woman who had just moved to the Channel District with its nearby freighters and cruise ships and tugs, and she said the best part was the mornings, listening to the busy, working port clang and bang and wake up.
Downtown resident Allen Fetters, who started the petition, laughs when I tell him how the trains sound from my vantage point.
About those quiet zones: Cities can push to have them established with specific safety measures added at crossings, like four-quadrant gates, medians and signs. And if it happens here, I'll chalk it up to a city on the move and wish my downtown and South Tampa neighbors a good night's sleep. This woman narrowly avoided a northbound Pacific Surfliner train barreling along the beach near Santa Claus Lane.
In 2007, Alan Shapiro, owner of the nearby Black Eyed Susan’s shop, was not so lucky; he was killed by a similar northbound train.
Statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis note that from 2000 through 2011 there were 38 fatal pedestrian-train incidents in Santa Barbara County. On January 2, 58-year-old Pamela Price was killed near the railroad crossing along Butterfly Lane. Santa Barbara city police respond to a fatal accident in August 2004 near Garden and State streets. So far, efforts in the Santa Barbara area to reduce train deaths have revolved around law enforcement tactics.


The problem, according to Matt Roberts, Carpinteria’s director of Parks and Recreation, is that Union Pacific effectively blocks safe access to the coastline.
In Carpinteria, the only sanctioned public route to the beach is along Linden Avenue, which has an “at-grade” crossing near the Amtrak Station. Crowds and kids are a regular sight on the Union Pacific rails that block access to Carpinteria beaches.
I was peering over Roberts’s shoulder in his office at Carpinteria City Hall as he fired up Google Earth, and we began to look at a number of locations most vulnerable for the next potential accident.
Perhaps the most dangerous location of all is the Carpinteria Bluffs, a 52-acre open space that leads to the beach and out to the Harbor Seal Rookery overlook.
In 2009, thanks to Roberts’s efforts, Carpinteria was awarded an $80,000 grant for a Coastal Access Feasibility Study.
Carpinteria is quietly buying up property along the tracks at Holly Avenue as part of a partnership with Union Pacific to construct underpasses there and at Calle Ocho. Just a mile away, on the west side of Carpinteria Salt Marsh, the county is moving to solve the decades-old problem of safe beach access at Santa Claus Lane. This map gives a close approximation of where 33 pedestrian-train collisions have occurred along the South Coast since 2000. Until the county purchased two vacant beach parcels in 2008 on what most people erroneously assumed was a public beach at Santa Claus Lane, most of the land south of the tracks was privately owned.
Things began to heat up in 2010 when the Long Range Planning Division received Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund grants to move ahead with the project, and Santa Claus Lane business owners sponsored a community meeting to gather public input.
While the swath of land from Gaviota State Park to El Capitan State Beach has some of the most beautiful, secluded, and inviting beaches anywhere in Santa Barbara County, solving the coastal access issue in such rural areas presents additional challenges.
Although GavPAC has included several of these locations in its recommendations for upgrading beach admittance, Rozzelle doesn’t believe the proposals are realistic. Eric Hjelstrom??—??newly appointed Santa Barbara Sector superintendent for Gaviota, Refugio, and El Capitan state beaches??—??echoes that concern.
Corral Beach, known as “Hazards” by local surfers and one of the more popular trespass points, is an example of what can happen at these informal crossing areas. If accidents such as these are horrendous for first responders and train passengers who witness them, the impact is beyond horrific for the engineers who pilot the trains.
A pedestrian cuts across the tracks moments before a train leaves the downtown station.
Incidentally, though many of the pedestrian-train accidents in Santa Barbara County involve Amtrak trains, responsibility for the tracks belongs to their owner, Union Pacific Railroad, and, as such, Union Pacific is charged with minimizing trespass. Though GavPAC has recommended improvements at several of the informal access points, there is a hesitancy to push too hard for fear that Caltrans might close them off, either by posting “No Parking” signs or adding barriers. As noted in the 2009 Carpinteria study, people will cross the railroad tracks if they can’t get to the beach any other way, despite the danger and the threat of being cited for trespassing. The study also notes this phenomenon is further compounded by “object familiarity.” People will look at a speeding train but judge its speed based on their familiarity with a car. If you live anywhere along the rail corridor in Santa Barbara, you know when the train is coming.
Within the next few years, Florida’s accident rate doubled, and in 1991, the Federal Railroad Administration issued Emergency Order 15 requiring the Florida East Coast Railroad to sound locomotive horns at all public highway–rail grade crossings. As a result, trains or engines approaching public highway grade crossings are required to sound their horns for at least 15 seconds, but no more than 20 seconds, before the lead engine enters the crossing.
The horn rule also requires that the interests of communities be taken into account and that they be allowed to establish “quiet zones”??—??sections of a rail line at least one-half mile in length that contains one or more consecutive public highway–rail grade crossings at which locomotive horns are not routinely sounded??—??if the risk is at, or below, two times the Nationwide Significant Risk Threshold and if there haven’t been any relevant collisions within the quiet zone during the preceding five years. I'm sure there is illegal fiber lines buried along these tracks for a RR security system. The City of Carpinteria is continuing to work on safe railroad crossing opportunities in the City and surrounding areas.
A Quiet Zone, if enacted, would require major upgrades to all existing crossings, and would cost lots of money. Is this another case of the media creating a story out of nothing?Nothing else to write about? At the Carpenteria bluff area, I saw a woman carrying her baby, her toddler with another little girl and her husband in a fog taking pictures, oblivious that they were on railroad tracks and that the kids were quite far from their parents. However, he said, trains may be required to sound a horn if there are work crews on the tracks or if a conductor sees a pedestrian or car entering the tracks.
Even when you're on the other side of the houses, you can't talk, you can't do anything," resident Scott Walker said. I get that now Raleigh should start to consider this but back in (what?) 2009 when West at North opened and WRAL ran a story about some person complaining about the noise? Actual people live here, walk dogs, stroll to restaurants and a€” important detail when it comes to the trains a€” sleep here at night. Then trains don't need to blow their horns except when crews deem it necessary, safetywise.
Just as she crosses, the railroad light at Padaro Lane turns green, signaling that the northbound Pacific Surfliner is heading her way.
There’s a moment of hesitation??—??like she’s thinking which way to go??—??then she bolts to the right through the fence to safety.


Witnesses say they saw Shapiro walking his dog, which was not on a leash, while talking on his cell phone. Six months earlier, another woman was killed a half mile east at the Eucalyptus Lane crossing. Crackdowns through the federally funded Operation Lifesaver program, which cites people for trespassing, have mostly taken place within the City of Santa Barbara stretch of the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) tracks.
Union Pacific property averages about 100 feet wide over the 45 miles of track that run from Gaviota State Park to Rincon. The spot where the trail crosses the Union Pacific tracks is owned by a Las Vegas limited partnership called Carpinteria Partners. Trespassing across the tracks there is as dangerous as any place on the South Coast, and some consider it to be the number-one spot for the next major accident. On January 17, 2012, the county held a second neighborhood meeting to present concept plans for review and comment.
Hjelstrom served as the three parks’ lead ranger for many years before his appointment as superintendent. The task of preventing it in rural locations such as the Gaviota Coast is almost impossible. At GavPAC meetings, several in attendance have noted the increase in the number of “no parking” zones near the state beaches and wonder if other access will be closed as well if people complain too much. Though it’s been possible to make periodic sweeps through high-use areas such as downtown Santa Barbara, it’s difficult for Union Pacific to enforce its rules on the more isolated parts of the coast.
Perhaps the most important thing to take away from the study is what might be termed the “large object phenomenon,” which states that people tend to misjudge the speed at which a very large object, like an Amtrak train, is traveling. This error gives them the false idea that they have more time to take evasive action than they really have.
Trains traveling at speeds greater than 45 mph must begin sounding their horns at or about, but not more than, one-quarter mile (1,320 feet) before the nearest public crossing. I'm sure people from the East Coast are a little more train savvy than car-centric SoCas. There are perhaps 40 people walking on the sand, a handful of dogs playing at the water’s edge. When the dog wandered onto the tracks near the Sand Point Road crossing, he chased after it, trying in vain to save it from the oncoming train. Along the Gaviota Coast, the only public routes to the ocean are at Gaviota, Refugio, and El Capitan state beaches. It leads directly down to Tar Pits Park, but there’s no way to get there without crossing the railroad tracks.” In 2009, a Carpinteria resident almost died near Calle Ocho when he fell while crossing the tracks.
In August 2012, Long Range Planning released its Santa Claus Lane Circulation and Parking project report that evaluates improvements and includes a location for an at-grade pedestrian crossing. In 2009 near the Vista del Mar beach access point, a group of friends were heading down to the beach when they noticed one of the party was missing. Ultimately, what may be required to reduce deaths on the train tracks is something relatively simple??—??for people crossing the tracks to pay attention to their surroundings and to be aware of the dangers posed by a train in motion.
The signal is required to be prolonged or repeated until the engine or train occupies the crossing or, where multiple crossings are involved, until the last crossing is occupied. I couldn't stand it any more after a minute (I almost got ran over a year ago when a train silently turned a curve there) so I shouted out to watch it, that trains come by unexpectingly fast. She’s not paying much attention as she looks for an opening in the fence that Union Pacific Railroad put in a few years ago, ostensibly to keep sand off the tracks. Other places are accessed by traversing private or railroad property??—??among them Corral, Vista del Mar, and San Onofre beaches??—??locations that offer plenty of space to park but aren’t designated for legal access.
It’s an almost perfect spot??—??easy entry, wide expanses of sand, and plenty of space for kids to play.
Next up are the preparation of conceptual design plans for the crossing and the submission of a formal application to the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) this spring. In another a husband and wife stopped at the Corral parking area to look for a camping spot. Upon tracing their steps back up to the bluffs, they discovered her lying by the side of the tracks.
I repeat, I get that now this is something to consider as there are more and more projects being built downtown around these rail routes.
But there are about four minutes a day when the trains pass by and the tracks become a high-danger zone.
Another person lost a limb when he stopped to urinate near the entry to Brad Pitt’s beach getaway and was too close to the tracks.



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