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