Goldenshield
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Question For The Railfans

Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:39 am

Hey guys,

So I took a trip on the new metro rail service up in SLC today (Front Runner.) It seems to me a much needed, and very viable service---especially since we were moving faster than the freeway.

Anyhow, I sat in the head-end car on the trip back, and could hear the horn over the music on my iPod (okay, it was classical,) and I noticed that they were not blowing the horn except for when anyone was in the right-of-way, i.e.; no bells on movement, no horn, nothing. This seems rather odd to me. Is this because they are a regional line?
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steeler83
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RE: Question For The Railfans

Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:30 am



Quoting Goldenshield (Thread starter):
I noticed that they were not blowing the horn except for when anyone was in the right-of-way, i.e.; no bells on movement, no horn, nothing. This seems rather odd to me. Is this because they are a regional line?

Hmm, that is odd. I take SEPTA into downtown Philadelphia everyday and I use their R5 regional rail line. Every time we pull into and out of a station, they ring the bell. Occasionally, they'll blow the whistle, but usually when approaching construction zones along the line as they replace the rivoted track with welded rail and upgrade other infrastructure...
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falstaff
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RE: Question For The Railfans

Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:48 am



Quoting Goldenshield (Thread starter):
no bells on movement, no horn, nothing. This seems rather odd to me. Is this because they are a regional line?

It probably is because there are no horn zones, unless there is an actual need for it. Many cities and towns have passed laws were trains cannot blow their horn unless there is a potential threat. I often watch trains in Kirkwood, Missouri and they have such rules. Dozens of UP freights ( and a few Amtraks ) go though daily and the horns only sound if there are people or cars crossing against the gates.

Where I live in metro Detroit there is no such laws and I can enjoy the train horn all the time. I am so used to it it doesn't wake me up.
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57AZ
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RE: Question For The Railfans

Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:29 am



Quoting Falstaff (Reply 2):

It probably is because there are no horn zones, unless there is an actual need for it.

They just got "no horn zones" up there. However, this does not bar the railroaders from using the train's horns under any circumstance that they deem it necessary to use them. Basically, all a "no horn zone" does is acknowledge a community's desire for quiet in exchange for some enhanced grade crossing protection and immunizing the railroad from lawsuits arising from incidents where it may be argued that the use of the horn could have mitigated or prevented the accident. In the past, railroads like Union Pacific have stated that their position is to go along with community requests (as long as they are reasonable), but that the railroad does not believe that there is any substantive legal basis for such laws. In other words, if it suits their interests they will observe "no horn zones". If they believe that observing a specific "no horn zone" would be against the railroad's interests, they will instruct their employees to disregard the local ordinance(s).

Personally, I disagree with the allowance of "no horn zones". Horns and whistles are as vital to public safety as sirens and lightbars on emergency services vehicles. I've seen grade crossing collisions and been directly involved in two such incidents. If I believe that I need to use the horn or whistle because of an unsafe crossing or other condition, I'm not going to worry about some "no horn zone". You can't fine the railroad for a violation of such an ordinance, so they're nothing more than window dressing to please the masses.
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Goldenshield
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RE: Question For The Railfans

Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:37 am

Thanks for the info guys. That seems to make sense. Also, right next to the platform in SLC is the UP yard, and I did notice that one freight train only blew its horn once before it crossed the street north of the station, so it seems to me that they have to follow it as well.
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57AZ
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RE: Question For The Railfans

Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:07 pm



Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 4):
Also, right next to the platform in SLC is the UP yard, and I did notice that one freight train only blew its horn once before it crossed the street north of the station, so it seems to me that they have to follow it as well.

You mean that they do observe it-not that they "have" to observe it.
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B6JFKH81
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RE: Question For The Railfans

Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:55 pm

There is a regulation that went into effect a few years ago for the rail systems that makes it mandatory to blow the horn (whistle) at certain points including (but not limited to IIRC):

> Gate crossings
> Pulling out of station
> Non-stop through station

The sequence of blows is:
LONG-LONG-SHORT-LONG
(and if you have a horn-happy engineer, this sequence can last for 30 seconds or more!)

The exception to the rule is if the communities specifically request a quiet zone. Now, I don't know if there is a difference between a light rail service and regular rail service when it comes to this regulation, but as someone who used to travel on the LIRR and lives right next to it, this reg is followed very well around me!  listen 

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