07.25.06

Schumer Announces Town Hall Meeting On Quiet Zones For The Hamburg Community

Town Hall Meeting Will Include Town Leaders, Representatives From FRA, CSX And Local Residents; Hamburg Has Over 100 Trains Passing Through Residential Areas Every DaySchumer: Hamburg Residents Deserve To Be Heard

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that, at his urging, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the CSX Corporation have agreed to participate in a town hall meeting with Hamburg community on March 1st. Last week, Schumer asked that representatives from the FRA and CSX come to Hamburg to and hear community concerns regarding noise from constant freight train horn blasts. Schumer has also invited representatives from Norfolk Southern to participate. Community leaders asked for help in creating Quiet Zone designations for the crossings in their town, which would allow trains to pass by without sounding their horns.

Bringing everyone to the table is the first step, but its an important one, Schumer said. This community needs to be heard, and deserves rail crossings that are both safe and quiet. The FRA and CSX have now stepped up to the plate to work with us and together we can move this forward.

Western New York is the crossroads of freight rail traffic in the Northeast, and the Town of Hamburg has eight surface crossings and over 12 miles worth of freight track that carry over 100 trains a day through populated residential areas. Approximately, 20,000 town residents live within audible range of these tracks. In order to reduce the constant annoyance of train horns blasts, for several years Town leaders have tried to reduce freight train noise at their crossings. The Town has done some preliminary estimates of what types of improvements need to be made, and is eager to implement the improvements as soon as possible. However, they need clarification from the Federal Railroad Administration on what the current regulations are governing safety at railroad crossings in quiet zones, as well as the definition of the minimum and maximum decibel levels for horn blasts in residential communities.

The railroad noise has been a problem for our community for a long time, Hamburg Town Councilwoman Kathy Hochul said. Senator Schumers help to get the players to the table to hear our concerns brings us a step closer to a solution.

A Quiet Zone designation allows communities who meet the safety needs at particular highwayrail grade crossings to have train horns silenced. Federal law requires oncoming trains to sound their horns if they are approaching a gradecrossing without advanced safety precautions. The establishment of a new quiet zone requires at minimum that each grade crossing be equipped with flashing lights and gates, and additional safety measures may be required to compensate for the absence of the horn as a warning device. New quiet zones can be in effect 24hours a day or just during the overnight period between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.



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