Railroads, Trains and Quiet Zones in our backyard...
Please take a moment to read this if you, too, can hear the train horns... Growing up in Palm Beach Gardens, the sound of the train horn was something I could always count on as a morning wake up call, as well as a good night whistle. With continued growth in South Florida, freight trains are a regular occurrence, and passenger trains will soon also delay traffic crossing the rails.
With quiet zones, which are added safety measures, trains do not sound their horns at a crossing unless they are approaching an unsafe condition.
The FEC and Brightline have reported that at max capacity, trains could travel across Palm Beach Gardens crossings up to 32 times per day. The Palm Beach TPA and Board, with our county and municipalities, is working on assuring our residents are protected. I am proud to represent our City as Vice Chair of the TPA Board.
Palm Beach Gardens, with the TPA & Treasure Coast Reginal Planning Council, are in the process of review and application for quiet zones for all grade level crossings in our City, while other municipalities and the county are in the same process for their areas, from 15th Street to the Martin County line.
Please note, that even with a quiet zone, railroad engineers may still sound the train horns should they feel the train is approaching an unsafe condition.*
TIMELINE From All Aboard Florida:
Beginning January 17, 2022 - Testing will begin. Trains will be running about once/day between 50-80 MPH
December 2022 - construction completed though to Orlando
Full operation January 2023 from Miami to Orlando
This means that the City will apply for a Notice of intent to Establish a Quiet Zone by November of 2022.
Once completed we plan to submit Notice of Establishment of the Quiet Zone by March 2023.
Dates are tentative based on construction completion by the FEC + Brightline.
Contact the FEC for further questions about noise impacts, schedules, operational items, and horn blowing. (904) 826-2306 firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, please feel free to reach me at email@example.com
* While the opportunity exists to limit the sounding of train horns in established quiet zones, under the Train Horn Rule (49 CFR Part 222), locomotive engineers must begin to sound train horns at least 15 seconds, and no more than 20 seconds, in advance of all public grade crossings, except where there is no significant risk to persons, where supplementary safety measures fully compensate for the absence of the warning provided by the horn, or where the horn as a warning is not practical.