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Thursday, November 07, 2013    

Quiet zone opens in Texas; crossing upgrades advance in Ohio and Washington

Yesterday, a new quiet zone took effect in New Braunfels, Texas, requiring trains to refrain from sounding their horns in the area.

The zone involves seven grade crossings along a Union Pacific Railroad mainline. City officials expect locomotive engineers from various railroads to take several weeks to become accustomed to the change, so horns still might sound occasionally.

"The public should be aware that while horns will no longer routinely blow at these crossings, trains will sound the horn if the engineer observes any pedestrian or vehicle in the railroad right of way, on the tracks or in a crossing," said Octavio Garza, the city's capital programs manager, in an online announcement.

Meanwhile, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approved the allocation of $20,000 from the state's Grade Crossing Protective Fund to help pay for upgrades at a Washington & Idaho Railway Inc. crossing in Pullman.

The railroad plans to upgrade lights to LED flashing lights, replace crossbuck signs, and update train-detection and supporting equipment. Work must be completed by June 1, 2014.

In Ohio, the state's Public Utilities Commission approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission directing two Class Is to install mast-mounted flashing lights and roadway gates at two crossings.

CSX Transportation will upgrade the Neff Road/Township Road 76 crossing in Lorain County and Norfolk Southern Railway will upgrade the Newkirk Road/Township Road 104 crossing in Wayne County. 

The railroads must complete the work by Aug. 6, 2014. Funding for the projects will be covered by federal dollars.

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