City Executes Railroad Quiet Zone Agreement with Union Pacific Railroad

The City of Austin Transportation Department recently executed the first of
two formal agreements with Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) July 26, 2011 with
the intent of establishing quiet zones at the following crossings:****

· UPRR Crossing at Matthews Lane ****

· UPRR Crossing at W. Stassney Lane ****

· UPRR Crossing at Banister Lane ****

· UPRR Crossing at W. Oltorf Street ****

· UPRR Crossing at W. Mary Street ****

This first agreement allows UPRR to determine what safety equipment changes
are necessary at these crossings to comply with the Federal Railroad
Administration (FRA) requirements for a quiet zone. This includes the
preparation of the design and cost estimate to install new equipment or
modify the existing equipment. Once the City receives the cost estimate from
UPRR, anticipated in early January 2012, a second agreement will be executed
to construct all needed modifications.****

****

In February, with the addition of medians near the crossing, a quiet zone
was established at Duval Road. Medians have also been constructed or
modified at W. Stassney and Banister lanes, and W. Mary Street in
preparation for quiet zones, however additional modifications to be
identified through this agreement will be needed prior to establishing quiet
zones at those locations.****

Currently, FRA requires train engineers to sound train horns when
approaching a public highway railroad crossing. A quiet zone will allow
trains to pass through the railroad crossing without sounding their horns,
except in emergencies, and will result in less train noise for surrounding
residents. ****

In the meantime, it is important to note that while the City is working to
reduce the disruption to residents from train horns, train engineers are
still authorized to sound the train horn as they approach and enter rail
crossings.