Railroad Quiet Zone established throughout town
When the clock struck 12:01 a.m. on December 27, Windsor basked in the silence of the night, as we became one of the few communities in Colorado to have a townwide railroad Quiet Zone.
The Quiet Zone designation eliminates train horns throughout Windsor, except in emergency situations.
“With 14 crossings throughout town, the train horns were creating noise issues,” said Quiet Zone Project Engineer Desa Blair. “With the number of community complaints increasing, we looked at ways to solve the noise problem.”
Town Board and staff worked together to find a solution, landing on establishing a Quiet Zone. To achieve a Quiet Zone designation, the town had to work through an extensive certification process that included safety upgrades at all but one of the town’s 14 crossings.
“We applied and received a $3.3-million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration, which funded the majority of the project,” Blair said. “With the grant, we upgraded 13 crossings with gates, flashing lights and medians, as needed, to provide safeguards for pedestrians and motorists.”
The new safety measures give advance notice of an approaching train, eliminating the need for a train horn warning.
The project was complex and required coordination with many state and federal entities over several years.
“We were awarded the grant in 2013, but didn’t receive funds until the following year,” Blair said. “Due to the number of crossings and required upgrades, we weren’t able to begin construction until fall 2015.
“We appreciated the patience of the community during the 15 months of construction.”
The Quiet Zone project is one to hang our hat on for various reasons, according to Blair.
“This was a major accomplishment for the town,” she said. “Not only are we among a select few in the state with this designation, we also received competitive federal funding and dramatically increased safety measures at crossings throughout town.
“And, the best part — we were able to listen to our community and solve a problem, which will hopefully improve the quality of life in Windsor for years to come.”
Railroad Safety Tips
- Trains and cars don't mix. Never race a train to the crossing — even if you tie, you lose.
- Trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That's 18 football fields!
- Never drive around lowered gates — it's illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the emergency number posted on or near the crossing signal or call Windsor Police.
- Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear it without stopping. Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
- If your vehicle ever stalls on the tracks with a train coming, get out immediately and quickly move away from the tracks in the direction the train is coming from. If you run in the same direction as the train, you could be injured by flying debris when the train hits your car.
- The only safe place to cross is at a designated roadway crossing or public crossing with a railroad crossing sign, flashing red lights or a gate. If you cross at any other place, you are trespassing and can be ticketed or fined.
- Always expect a train. Freight trains do not follow set schedules; be alert.
Tips courtesy of Operation Lifesaver.