Why Do Trains Sound Their Horns?
In response to an increase in train/automobile collisions, in 1994 Congress enacted a law that required the FRA to issue a Federal Regulation requiring the consistent sounding of locomotive horns at public highway-rail grade crossings. It also gave the FRA the ability to provide for exceptions through which communities may establish “quiet zones”.

The Train Horn Rule became effective in June 2005. The rule set nationwide standards for the sounding of locomotive train horns at public highway-rail grade crossings. The FRA has very specific requirements as to when, where, how long, and how loud a train must sound its horn. According to FRA rules, train horns must:

• Be between 96 and 110 decibels
• Sound at least 15 seconds but no more than 20 seconds before reaching a crossing
• Sound no more than ¼ of a mile in advance of a crossing if the train is traveling faster than 60 mph

Show All Answers

1. What is a Quiet Zone?
2. Why Do Trains Sound Their Horns?
3. Who is Responsible for Establishing a Quiet Zone?
4. When was the Atherton Fair Oaks Quiet Zone Established?
5. Is the Atherton Caltrain Station Part of the Quiet Zone?
6. Is the Sounding of Train Horns Now Prohibited Through the Town of Atherton?
7. Are Quiet Zones Safe?
8. Did the Town Assume Any Potential Liability by Establishing the Atherton Fair Oaks Quiet Zone?
9. Can the Town Create a Quiet Zone at the Watkins Railroad Crossing?
10. How Can I Report Violations of the Quiet Zone?
11. Where Can I Learn More About How Quiet Zones are Established?