The Town of Timnath has no control over the trains passing through Timnath. The trains are governed by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and, although local communities including Fort Collins, Windsor and Timnath have tried to impart on the FRA the impacts of the trains on our residents, we have had no success. Additional questions and FAQ’s are below:
FAQ’s: Why are the trains so loud when crossing through Timnath?
We’ve been hearing several questions over the past few weeks about the trains that run through Town and the regulations they have to follow. One of the most common questions we receive is about the train horns that are sounded as they cross our streets.
Railroads are governed by the Federal Railroad Administration. This means that they don’t have to follow the same Town ordinances (such as noise control ordinances) that or residents or someone when traveling on our streets would. Currently, train horns are sounded at crossings according to the regulations of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Train Horn Rule. Under this rule, locomotive engineers must begin to sound train horns at least 15 seconds, and no more than 20 seconds, in advance of all public grade crossings. Then, they must sound their horn again continuously while the train crosses the road.
Railroad whistles are especially necessary for safety in intersections that have a stop sign and no physical gate. While noisy, this helps keep our residents safe. Crossings that have gates, like Harmony, are not automatically a quiet zone. Gates & other safety measures are required in order to request a crossing be a quiet crossing. It is, up to the discretion of the particular engineer whether to sound their horn.
At a quiet zone crossing, Summerfields Parkway, for example, specific measures have been put into place, specific rules met, and approval received that allows for a train to cross without sounding their horn. A quiet zone is an FRA exemption to the rule that requires trains to sound their horns when approaching public highway-rail grade crossings. A quiet zone may be a section of rail line at least one-half mile in length that contains one, or more, public grade crossings at which locomotive horns are not routinely sounded. At these crossings, locomotive conductors are not required to sound their homes because they have safety methods installed at these gated crossings.
However, sounding the horn in quiet zones is not prohibited. If the engineer sees a safety concern (arms didn’t lower, pedestrians near the track, etc), they have full authorization to sound the horn as they feel is required – it just doesn’t have to be every time and for the full duration/decibel level as dictated by the FRA for a non-quiet zone crossing.
Three Bell Railroad Gate and Quiet Zone Project
Because of the growth of our Town, one of the priority projects has been the installation of railroad gates at busy intersections. Currently, the Town has partnered with the railroad to install gates and a quiet zone crossing at Three Bell. Currently, the Timnath Quiet Zone extends from Summerfields Parkway to Harmony Road. In the future, Town staff hopes to extend the Quiet Zone through Main Street, but improvements at Main Street would be required and this will likely take several years to implement.