After more than 10 years of trying, we finally received approval this week for a Quiet Zone in Fairfield. That means once the approved supplemental safety measures are completed next summer, the trains will no longer sound their horns as they pass through the City.
A main rail line goes through Fairfield, often with over 60 trains passing per day. At present, the railroads are required to sound three short horn blasts, three long, and then three short again per train at each of the city’s eight at-grade crossings. Many newcomers to the community, including students, often complain about the horn sounds, especially at night. When the weather warms up and windows are left open at night, the horns keep many of us awake. I particularly am annoyed by the loud blasts when I am at an event on the Square, four blocks from the tracks.
In order to get the horns to stop we need to create supplemental safety devices on most crossings. At present by sounding the train horns the crossings have a combined Risk Index of 24,399. To improve safety we will install raised medians leading up to the crossings for 50 to 100 feet in each direction. This will keep vehicles from crossing the center median into the opposite lane of traffic when the crossing gates are down. By installing these medians we will lower our Risk Index to 12,052, which means our crossings will be twice as safe.
So we have some reason to celebrate: No more horns starting next year, providing the financial support that was promised comes through. Enjoy the silence!