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Batavia looks at ways to stop train noise

Published: Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – It would cost an estimated $4 million to reduce train noise along the BNSF Railway spur track that runs through the city’s east side.

The Batavia City Council City Services Committee will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Batavia Government Center, 100 N. Island Ave., to discuss the results of a study that consulting engineers Rempe-Sharpe of Geneva did on what improvements would have to be made to eight crossings in order to create quiet zones.

City Engineer Noel Basquin said the city has received complaints from residents in the past several years regarding train horn noise from the BNSF trains. Trains are required to blow their horns when approaching a railroad crossing not in a Federal Railroad Administration-approved quiet zone.

Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said the city received complaints last summer about people being awakened by the train horns. The $4 million price tag includes placing gates and flashing light signals at the crossings.

“It’s a fairly pricey idea to put gates at all these crossings,” Schielke said. “But I think that we are open to any idea or options. We are listening to what people are saying and looking if there are any plausible solutions.”

Part of the problem, he said, is that trains start blowing their whistles “south of River Hills Cemetery, which is outside of our jurisdiction.”

Basquin said quiet zones don’t guarantee a ban on trains from blowing their horns. He said the FRA requires the use of horns in emergency situations, inclement weather, power outages, signal failure and the presence of workers or trespassers.

Rempe-Sharpe proposed creating three quiet zones for eight grade crossings that start at Bond Drive to the south and stop at Raddant Road at the northerly end.

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