Mesquite Tells Trains to Lay Off Horns

Quiet zones to be in place in 12 to 18 months at city's six railroad crossings

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mesquite took action Monday to establish a quiet zone at six railroad crossings where residents have complained about train horns that can be heard from miles away. (Published Monday, Nov 5, 2012)

    Mesquite is making the city a train horn-free city.

    The city on Monday voted to stop trains from blowing their horns at six railroad crossings in the city, putting in place quiet zones.

    "It's a quality-of-life issue for the businesses and the citizens that live near the railroad tracks," Assistant City Manager Jerry Dittman said. "Now, just because it's a quiet zone doesn't mean a train horn engineer won't blow his horn if he sees somebody doing an unsafe act on the railroad."

    The city hopes to have the zones in place in 12 to 18 months.

    Dozens of trains pass through the city limits every day. Residents and business owners say that can hear the horns from miles away.

    "It feels like a small miniature earth quake," Bill Metzger said. "Literally, walls of our business will shake. Things will move just a little bit."

    Metzger has been dealing with the loud trains for the past 38 years.

    "We have to cover our ears like this just to minimize the pain from the sound of the train as it's passing right behind here by our business," he said.

    Carl Allen said the noise drives his customers away.

    "If I could sell, I would sell today just because of the trains," he said. "It's too hard to conduct business with them."

    The city has been working on getting quiet zones for the past two years.

    The change will cost taxpayers $350,000. The city has to make safety upgrades at crossings for cars and pedestrians because train operators won't be able to sound their horns at the railroad crossings.