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Driving You Crazy: Why did the trains that roll through Louisville stop honking?

Railroad crossing
Posted at 4:43 AM, Aug 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-22 11:57:26-04

Jessica from Louisville writes, “What’s driving you crazy? Hi Jayson, I have a train question that has been eating me alive! I live in Louisville at South Boulder Road and Courtesy Road. When I first moved here in November, the train would honk regularly day and night. Over the last few months it stopped honking when coming through town. WHY did it stop? What changed? It’s driving me crazy not knowing.”

When something that used to be so regular stops, even the loudness of a train horn, it can be a bit disconcerting. The City of Louisville is the latest city to quiet down the very loud horns. City officials worked for several years with the BNSF railway to make several of the crossings in Louisville quiet zones.

“A railroad quiet zone is a section of rail line that contains one or more consecutive public crossings at which locomotive horns are not routinely sounded,” an official with the city said.

The reason the trains haven't been honking for several months is because the quiet zone went into effect on May 23 at the crossings on Dillon Road, Pine Street, Griffith Street and at South Boulder Road.

The train may still use it's horn from time to time for cases like a hazard that is on the track that the engineer is concerned about — something like people or animals on the track. Even though the locomotive engineers no longer need to regularly sound the train horn, the bells at the railroad gates will continue to sound as these warn drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists that a train is coming.

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For anyone crossing the tracks, especially drivers, there is the need to be more aware of a train at the rail crossings since the horns aren’t sounding anymore. The City of Louisville suggests to always look both ways prior to crossing railroad tracks and to pay attention to active warning gates, flashers and bells when on approach to a railroad crossing. If the city sees an increase in vehicle train collisions or other concerning incidents involving the quiet zone crossings, they have the option to look at reinstating the all the time train horns.

The City of Louisville budgeted over $3 million for continued improvements at those crossings. Anyone with questions about the project, can email Louisville Public Works at pworks@louisvilleco.gov or call them at 303-335-4608.

Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 25 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunes , Stitcher , Google Play or Podbean.