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DL makes progress on quiet zone

People have been hearing train whistles blow in Detroit Lakes since the first tracks were laid in this area in the 1870s. Now that will soon come to an end when a quiet zone is established in Detroit Lakes.

So when will the train horns be silenced? Two steps remain before that happens.

Step one is the installation of exit gates and a vehicle detection system at the Kris Street crossing.

Step two is to send out the notice of establishment, and 21 days after that the train horns will go silent.

Work is now under way on the exit gate and vehicle detection the Kris Street crossing.

Once they are installed and tested, the notice of establishment will be sent out.

Under Federal Railroad Administration Guidelines, communities can request approval of a quiet zone, which is a segment of rail line that has one or more crossings where the train horns are not sounded because safety improvements have been installed at the crossings.

The proposed Detroit Lakes quiet zone runs from Anderson Road on the west to county roads 53 and 54 on the east.

Since more than 60 trains per day pass through Detroit Lakes, the City has felt that a quiet zone would help to reduce a significant amount of noise in the community.

The crossings are improved to increase the level of safety at each crossing in order to allow the train horns to be silenced.

While developing the quiet zone will reduce train horn noise, it does not mean that the horns will never be sounded within the quiet zone.

Train horns may be sounded in an emergency or if warning signals at crossings are not working properly.

Typically train horns are sounded about a quarter of a mile from an intersection and then again a second and third time when the train passes through the intersection. Naturally, train horns must be very loud to be heard at such distances and to be heard over other noises such as traffic and radios.

Because of these loud horns and the length of time they are sounded, large areas in the city can be negatively affected by the noise.

The goal of the Detroit Lakes quiet zone is to improve the quality of life in the community while increasing vehicle and pedestrian safety at railroad crossings.