New train alerting system to be tested next week
Plans are on track to test out a potential new system that would aim to reduce the noise trains make while passing through Del Mar.
Instead of relying on each train’s horn blasting to alert pedestrians and commuters of impending arrivals, a group of Del Mar residents has arranged to test a “wayside horn,” which would make the noise from the crossing itself.
This system would limit trains to sounding their horns only in emergency situations. Wayside horns, to be tested at the tracks’ intersection with Coast Boulevard, will be quiet enough to not reach those in faraway areas but still alert those nearby.
“You’re talking about 45 (train) trips a day back and forth,” said resident Hershell Price, who is organizing the demonstration with Quiet Zone Technologies. “Of those, most of the freight trains come in during the night, and the freight train decibel level is so much higher than either Amtrak or Coaster, so they’re the worst.”
The wayside horn would be required to blare loud enough to reach 92 decibels 100 feet away, but are aimed in the direction of those that must be alerted. Quiet Zone Technologies CEO Robert Albritton said passing trains sound their horns at 110 decibels in all directions once they are 25 seconds away from the intersection. A wayside horn begins as soon as the railroad crossing gates begin to close.
Price said if residents like the technology, efforts to raise the $160,000 to buy the system would ensue.
The Del Mar City Council, which authorized the test at its March 8 meeting, does not have the funding to pay for the project. Citing the success of raising money for the Del Mar Community Center, Price said he is optimistic the group could find financial support if residents are for the project.
Wayside horn test
- April 22, 9:30 a.m. to noon
- Coast Boulevard at railroad tracks
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