Train whistles targeted by city "Quiet Zones"

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 8:00pm

There are at least two kinds of noisy neighborhoods: the one where the people living next to you won't shut up, and the rail crossing, where the blast of a train whistle gives its stop-or-die warning to oncoming drivers.

In central El Paso, a 'quiet zone' is coming at nine rail crossings south of Interstate 10, with the installation of so -called Quad Arms.  That person you've seen in line before, the one who drives around one crossing arm and then around another to beat a train across the tracks, won't be able to pull that stunt with Quad Arms in place.  Instead of a staggered position, the two arms will come down together and almost touch.

From an environmental standpoint, crossings would become quieter because trains would no longer be bound legally to blast a whistle while approaching or passing through a crossing.

This first quiet zone is partly for the benefit of patients and staff at University Medical Center, which stands just a couple of hundred yards from a busy track, and well within hearing distance of a loud whistle.


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