Railroad Train Horns Set to Go Silent in Walnut April 22

Train conductors will no longer blow their horns at designated crossings at Brea Canyon Road and Valley, Old Benton Way, and Lemon and Fairway.

Mayor Pro Tem Tom King recalled at recent Walnut City Council meeting just how loud the train horns that sound across the city can get.

King said he was once in the community talking to residents complaining about the noise when he experienced what they meant right on the spot.

"The horn blew and it was so loud, it scared me," he said.  "I almost fell off the porch."

Walnut residents long bothered by the blaring of train horns, especially in the wee hours of the morning, will soon get some relief.

The long-awaited $2 million quiet zone project, designed to prevent conductors from sounding their horns at railroad crossings where there are cross streets level with the tracks, goes into effect April 22.

Walnut Councilman Antonio "Tony" Cartagena, along with other council members and city staff, have been lobbying their neighbors in Industry for the quiet zone near Valley Boulevard for several years.  The Union Pacific Railroad tracks run on the City of Industry side of Valley but affects bordering Walnut.

"It's been a long process," Cartagena said.  "This will definitely improve the quality of life for residents."

Cartagena said the project took a long time to complete due to safety and liability issues.

The quiet zone green light also involved the City of Industry applying to the Federal Railroad Administration to designate the crossings at Brea Canyon Road and Valley, Old Benton Way, and Lemon and Fairway as quiet zones.

Industry started construction on the quiet zone in 2011.

Projects to ready the area slated for the designation included the addition of gates to the crossing at Fairway Drive and Lemon Avenue and the installation of raised medians at the Brea Canyon Road crossing.

Industry City Engineer John Ballas said last year that as it stands now, the first place along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks near Walnut where conductors can sound their horns is at Fullerton Road. They don’t sound the horn at Nogales because of a grade separation, he said. 

The project also included installing raised medians, specifically at the Brea Canyon Road crossing.

“Raised medians prevent people from driving around the gates,” he said.  “You want to make physical barriers so they can’t get around.”

What do you think about the quiet zone coming to Walnut this month? Tell us in comments.



Michael April 09, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Wow, it only took 16 years to solve a problem the City of Orange did in 18 months. Well done! http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/orange_county&id=7976356
gsuburban April 09, 2013 at 11:54 PM
It seems like all the stupid idiots who "run the crossing" trying to beat the trains has over time, increased the length and intervols of those huge electric horns. The frequency of sounding train horns has at least tripled in the past 5 years, all over, including the Glendora Route 66 area from Amelia all the way west to Citrus Ave. BNSF railroad drives their engines, no freight, no cars, at a snails paces daily through glendora's many RxR crossings and the darn train is traveling no faster than 5 or 10 MPH in between crossings. Then, they don't drive through the crossings, they come to a stop, a guy gets out of the engine, walks into the crossing area, the train begins a series of horn honking, then the engine continues toward the crossing when, it sounds it's horn non-stop while it crawls across the crossing area. This last for a good 15 seconds. Then, once across, the man will get back into the engine and they put put to the next crossing and do the same at the remaining crossings. This is sound pollution at the least and it drives many folks in a rage as they wonder why the BNSF is bothing to pass through in the first place when no load is being moved. Our mayor needs to do the same thing here in Glendora, and get to the bottom of this stupid practice. While he's at it, he might explain why the helicopters must fly so low and circle 3 or 4 times, bother the residents, then head to another Glendora location doing the same pattern, not official police needs.
Michael April 10, 2013 at 02:35 AM
Well, if your mayor is as good as Walnut, he'll get it done in 16 years. You need to show him/her that City of Orange did sixteen crossings in 18 months, Walnut had only two. It's a matter of priorities. Your mayor probably spends most of his time flying to Sacramento on "city business" and figuring out how to install money making red-light-camera ticket machines to get $500 from you.
Tom King April 10, 2013 at 04:54 AM
The quiet zone was built with discretionary funds from the City of Industry. The tracks lie totally in that jurisdiction, similar to the Orange tracks which run through that City. The tracks do not run in Walnut and the City does not have the jurisdiction to make the findings of fact, and request the Federal Railroad Administration authorized the quiet zone. Walnut has no jurisdiction in Orange or Industry so the implementation is completely up to the City of Industry. In 2009 Mayor Perez committed to me that Industry would fund the project with discretionary funds as a good neighbor. Perez often came to shop in Walnut and had heard how loud the trains were himself. Unfortunately, the NFL Stadium debacle led by a retired Mayor tried to stop the project using tactics that were not recommended by the City Attorney. After his departure City leaders in Industry relented and again decided to fund the project recently after outreach by all of the City Council members. Good faith negotiations with your neighbors works better than lawsuits.
BP April 10, 2013 at 05:15 AM
How the scam works. 1. Feds trump state train horn laws. 2. Train horns whistle whip people into submission with complaints from--- who knows who??? 3. Railroad comes in and makes a fortune in overcharges and stolen signal equipment and adding equipment at 10 times the real value (OURS). 4.Somebody (not railroads) has to pay for ridiculous priced liability insurance at the whistle free crossing so railroad is hold harmless and can kill at will. 5.The crossings for GPS crew-less trains hid behind the curtains not a problem for railroads anymore. Bye-bye train crews 6. Warren Buffett starts his 41st vault of silver.
Harvey Klee April 10, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Well done for your conviction, persistance and finesse Mayor King! I can't to tell my Wife about this. She's going to be ecstatic! Thanks again!
Michael April 10, 2013 at 08:40 PM
The Walnut Council got the red-light-ticket camera installed in less than a year, yet this train horn has been waking me up for 16 years. I wish the Council had a better set of priorities. No one thought to contact Industry in 1997???
Robert Corona April 10, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Now how about the Union Pacific tracks on the south side by Colima Mr KIng? Any plans on those that you know of? Plenty of businesses and homes and Ybarra school on that side. And,,, there are 2 sets of tracks over there. City of Industry just holds everyone hostage in their path! Every city they run through is at their mercy.
Neighbors April 10, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Despite the "walnut" postal code the area you mention is not in the city of walnut. It is either diamond bar or Rowland heights. People there need to contact their actual city (who they pay their taxes to). Good job on walnuts part to work with industry. Takes time and persistence. Red light easy because it is in walnut. Not so the train tracks. Not hard to understand. Pretty basic actually.
Robert Corona April 10, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Well, I am a pretty basic type of guy.... I mentioned those tracks because I get gas at that Arco and meet friends at Carl's on Fairway... we can hardly talk when the trains go by. No other place to meet around there. (before someone says "meet some other place" I am aware its not Walnut, but it is Industry. I attend Pony League baseball games at Ybarra grammar school... the trains go by every 15 minutes... its pretty bad. People HAVE written to Knabe... many people. NO RESPONSE!
Neighbors April 10, 2013 at 11:21 PM
No offenses meant to you when saying basic.
Robert Corona April 10, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Not a problem Neighbors.. I understand. Thanks.
Tom King April 11, 2013 at 12:43 AM
I can not speak for LA County, but the Southern tracks are likely in Don Knabe's district and the Northern Tracks are in Gloria Molina's District. These improvements are going to be important as BNSF cranks up traffic. The economic downturn has been holding down the number of trains which will only increase in volume and size. Some trains may be a mile long. That is why projects like ACE, relieve pressure with grade separations. There is a proposal to build a overcrossing at Fairway and Valley. The County got Fairway and Gale put in front of it, even though the worst crossing is at Fairway and Valley. The railroad wants to include Lemon Avenue. There is a question weather member cities of the SGVCOG will attempt to divert funding believing they could use funding for the project in foothill and inland empire communities. The building of these overcrossings save lives and eliminate noise and contact with the railroad. They would not hesitate to do this in West Los Angeles or Century City. But we have to fight tooth and nail for our fair share of revenues in the SGV. I cannot imagine someone choking on a chicken bone in West LA waiting 15 minutes for an ambulance because of a train.
Robert Corona April 11, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Thank you for the fine response Mr King. Very enlightning. It just never made sense to me that two rail tracks being so close together, one would be quiet and the other still so loud. I don't live in that area, but I have two friends that do. They were saying at night sometimes one train will blow the whistle 5 or 6 times at 1 a.m. Can't sleep with the window open in summer. They want to move because of this but unfortunately not in a financial position to do so. Doubt anything will get done with the noise or the overcrossing in the near future. But Industry has a new Mayor,,, maybe he can do something about it. Maybe we can get him to have a meal at Carl's so he can take a listen. Thanks again.


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