Trains in St. John to be qui­eted start­ing Jan. 1

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - News - By Rob Earn­shaw Post-Tri­bune Rob Earn­shaw is a free­lance re­porter for the Post-Tri­bune.

Res­i­dents in St. John have been ask­ing for relief from train horns for a long time and they are about to get it.

St. John Po­lice Chief James Kve­ton at Thurs­day’s Town Coun­cil meet­ing an­nounced that a cor­ri­dor of Nor­folk South­ern rail­road cross­ings will re­ceive a quiet zone des­ig­na­tion.

The cor­ri­dor con­sists of rail cross­ings at 77th Av­enue (Scher­erville), 85th Av­enue, 93rd Av­enue, Theilen Street and Joliet Street.

Start­ing at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 1, en­gi­neers won’t ac­ti­vate train horns at the cross­ings in what is known as the Scher­erville & St. John NS Quiet Zone.The t own started the en­deavor for the quiet zone about four years ago.

“This morn­ing we were able to con­clude the project,” Kve­ton said.

Congress passed a law in 1994 ordering trains to blow their horns at ev­ery rail­road cross­ing as a safety mea­sure. In 2005, the gov­ern­ment ruled that it would al­low quiet zones if com­mu­ni­ties make the cross­ings safe enough.

Only a pub­lic author­ity, the gov­ern­men­tal en­tity re- spon­si­ble for traf­fic con­trol or law en­force­ment at the cross­ings is per­mit­ted to cre­ate quiet zones.

At a min­i­mum, the rail cross­ing within a quiet zone must be equipped with ac­tive warn­ing de­vices, such as me­di­ans to pre­vent ve­hi­cles from driv­ing around cross­ing gates, flash­ing lights, gates and power out in­di­ca­tors.

En­hance­ments for the St. John cor­ri­dor in­clude new me­di­ans at 77th and 85th av­enues. The rail­road in­stalled gates at 93rd, Joliet and Theilen, sav­ing the town an es­ti­mated sev­eral mil­lion dol­lars.

The town did add de­lin­eators where needed to serve as ver­ti­cal bar­ri­ers for about a cost of $20,000, of­fi­cials said.

Town Man­ager Steve Kil said the quiet zone is only for Nor­folk South­ern trains. The town plans to tackle CSX trains next, and those tracks run al­most par­al­lel to Nor­folk South­ern at Joliet and Theilen and 93rd.

“If one blows its whis­tle and the other one doesn’t, it is not go­ing to do any good,” he said.

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