Council endorses wayside horn plan
The Del Mar City Council is symbolically on board with the fundraising efforts for wayside train horns at the Coast Boulevard crossing.
This still means no city money would go to paying for the system that could drastically reduce noise from trains by replacing them sounding their horn with a quieter, simulated horn located at the crossing itself. However, the citizen fundraising committee was seeking the council’s backing to make its efforts and monetary requests more credible.
“I’ve been impressed with this committee’s stick-to-it-iveness and wanting to get this done,” said Mayor Richard Earnest, who attended a demonstration last month. “I did go down and spend an hour or so, maybe two, listening to this and it was quite startling. ”
The current goal is to accumulate between $160,000 and $170,000 to pay for the system’s purchase and installation. The estimated cost is between $90,000 and $120,000, but the committee aims to raise the extra funds for unforeseen expenses.
The technology, consisting of directionally angled horns placed at the crossing, would limit trains to sounding their horns only in emergency situations. Essentially, Del Mar residents throughout the city will hear at most a much quieter version of the multidirectional blasts of passing trains.
“All-in-all it can be a very significant improvement on the noise levels along the tracks and I think we should pursue it,” said committee member Pete Glazer, who measured decibel differences between the trains and the wayside horns from the Ocean Windows Condominiums overlooking the crossing during the April 22 test. Glazer shared the results of his study with the council on Monday, with passing trains sounding their horns around 100 decibels, and the wayside horn coming in no higher than 80 decibels, which are measured logarithmically. While the sound of the train itself would not be curtailed, wayside horns were nearly inaudible from Camino del Mar during the demonstration.
Federal law requires trains to begin their horns when 25 seconds away from a crossing. A wayside horn, which would only have to reach 92 decibels 100 feet away, is aimed in the direction of those that need to be alerted. The Federal Railroad Administration, which had a representative in Del Mar during last month’s test, accepts wayside horns.
The committee will now set up meetings with city and North County Transit District officials for concrete information on necessary wayside horn infrastructure, installation and maintenance, which it will then present to the public. A community meeting originally set for Tuesday at the City Hall Annex has been postponed until all information has been finalized.
To hear sounds from the demonstration, see Quieter wayside horn tested in Del Mar.
- AUDIO: Quieter wayside train horn tested in Del Mar
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