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Railroad quiet zones

A quiet zone is a railroad grade crossing at which trains are prohibited from sounding their horns in order to decrease the noise level for nearby residential communities. The train horns can be silenced only when other safety measures compensate for the absence of the horns.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) train horn rule provides localities nationwide with the opportunity to establish quiet zones. The federal rule pre-empts all applicable state laws. To qualify, communities wishing to establish quiet zones must equip proposed grade crossings with adequate safety measures to overcome the decrease in safety created by silencing the train horns. The additional safety measures must be constructed at the community’s own expense and must meet federal specifications. The federal rule also contains language which for the first time restricts the volume of train horns.

For more information, visit the FRA train horn rule web page.