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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.
Senator Mark Udall, resident Diana Ayala and Congressman Ed Perlmutter at a new quiet zone crossing. A new type of railroad crossing, one touted as both an effective way to keep people safe and significantly reducing train noise, was unveiled Friday in Commerce City.
People who live and work along the Norfolk Southern tracks say the blare of the locomotives' horns forces them to freeze in conversation and wakes them up late at night. Crews said the city is trying to establish a "quiet zone" around the railroad tracks' intersection with 20th Street near City Hall.
Before a quiet zone can be established, the city must send a letter of intent about its plans to Norfolk Southern and the Federal Railroad Administration, Crews said. Saunders said he and other city officials have been hearing from residents about the trains' horns being a nuisance. Susan Terpay, a Norfolk Southern spokeswoman, said while the company considers the sounding of horns to be the most effective way to warn the public of a train's approach, Norfolk Southern recognizes that the federal government allows for quiet zones. Train traffic is constant through Irondale, Crews said, pointing out that the tracks have traffic from freight trains and Amtrak.
Billie Jean McDanal, who lives about a mile away from the 20th Street crossing, sees value in having a quiet zone.
Irondale, Alabama--Irondale would like to establish a "quiet zone" for trains passing through March 20, 2012. Ron Bishop, who lives about two blocks from the tracks, said although he and his family have gotten used to living with the trains and their noises, he would like to see a quiet zone instituted.

Bishop said a quiet zone would have the potential to make living in Irondale more attractive. Crews said the pursuit for a quiet zone is in its infancy, so no dates have been set for taking a proposal before the council for a vote. 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.
My parents DID the research B4 moving to Cary decades ago.And because the AIRPORT was already there, Daddy even went so far as to look into the flight plan routes with respect to the home he was going to have built. They'll regret not letting the trains blow their whistle when the first person is killed because they have to be quiet.
The sealed corridor consists of new gates installed where the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad intersects with Greenwood Avenue, Elgin Avenue, Cheyenne Avenue, Elmwood Avenue and Guthrie Avenue. With the new quiet zone, train engineers are not allowed to blow their horns except in an emergency.
TULSA, OK -- Train whistles blowing day and night in downtown Tulsa are a thing of the past – at least in one area on the north edge of town. But add the crossing bells, to the sound of a whistle blowing, and that combo can almost be too much.
Five Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railroad crossings downtown now make up a sealed corridor – a fancy term for a quiet zone.
The new crossings also have better safety measures, including quad gates to prevent cars from going around, and loop detection systems that lift arms if a car gets stuck between them.

Back at the shop, fewer whistles are music to the ears of Paul White – his dog Ellie Mae too.
The sealed corridor consists of new gates installed where the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad intersects with Greenwood Avenue, Elgin Avenue, Cheyenne Avenue, Elwood Avenue and Guthrie Avenue.
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. Train operators passing through such a zone would be required to refrain from blowing their horns. Nearby is Norfolk Southern's yard -- Norris Yard -- where the trains go in and out and train cars are switched. 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? Sometimes he can barely hear himself think, and phone conversations are out of the question. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.
Councilman Bob Saunders said the cost to the city for those enhancements could be about $45,000-$50,000. 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. Instead an audio box mounted high above the crossing blasts a digital train horn sound directly at cars, significantly reducing noise pollution from passing trains. The $8 million upgrade to the crossing also includes new crossing gates and higher medians preventing cars from driving around them.
Federal Railroad Administration rules require trains to sound their horn a minimum of 15 seconds prior to arrival at a crossing. Democratic Senator Mark Udall said with multiple crossings in close succession, the horn may never stop. Under pressure from area residents, Senator Udall and Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter urged the Federal Railroad Administration to approve a horn waiver for the crossing.

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