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.



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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