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Is it possible for Palmer to file for relief from train horns?

Question:

Mr. Young,

I am writing on behalf of our household and several neighbors. A few nights a month, a train will come through town blowing its horn for extremely long amounts of time, sometimes all the way through town. I have read where some towns have declared a quiet zone or set times in which horns are not to be sounded. Is it possible for Palmer to file for this relief from late night and early morning train horns? If they just would cease sounding horns between 11 pm and 5 am it would be a huge relief. Most trains are not a burden, but that one or two that never stop blowing at 2 am disturb the surrounding homes. Thank you for your time and attention.

Thank you,
Palmer Resident

Answer:

“Section 471.006 of the Transportation code provides that an engineer in charge of a locomotive shall “ring the bell and blow whistle or siren at least one-quarter of a mile from the place where the railroad crosses a public road or street.  The engineer shall continue to ring the bell until the locomotive has crossed the road or stopped.  The railway company is liable for any damages sustained by a person because of a violation.  The engineer commits an offense (a misdemeanor) for such failure. Notwithstanding the above, a city with a population of at least 5000 may regulate by ordinance the ringing of bells and blow of whistles and sirens with its limits. The original statute required the ringing of the whistle at least 80 rods from the crossing.  This was changed later to an equivalent distance or one-quarter of a mile.” The City of Palmer does not have a population of 5000 thus we are unable to create an ordinance.   I will contact Union Pacific Railroad and request that they review their practice for any changes they could make to lessen the noise.

Doug Young
City Administrator