The City of Del Mar, with support of the North County Transit District (NCTD), will launch its wayside horn system on Sept. 14.
The project, primarily funded by residents of the city, is meant to serve as a pilot for the region. The system’s horns — known as wayside horns — are directionally angled speakers fixed at a crossing that focus sound towards approaching traffic rather than a train’s multidirectional blasts. With a wayside horn system, conductors only sound their horns in dangerous or emergency situations.
To ensure that the wayside horn system is working correctly and to protect the safety of motorists, pedestrians, and rail passengers, NCTD plans to test and commission the wayside horn system the week prior to the system going operational. The test and commissioning process will entail the following:
• On Thursday, Sept. 6, at 8 a.m. the sound levels of the wayside horn will be tested and calibrated to meet the required Federal Railroad Administration requirements, a minimum of 92 decibels at 100 feet from the track.
• From Monday, Sept. 10 through Friday, Sept. 14, the wayside horn system will be tested, which will include the sounding of the wayside horn as trains pass through the crossing, in addition to the regular sounding of train horns.
• On Friday, Sept. 14 at 11:01 a.m., NCTD will fully initiate the Wayside Horn System and trains will no longer be required to sound their horns as they pass through the crossing.
The project, which has been discussion and development for approximately two years, was funded by local residents of the City of Del Mar and NCTD to minimize the noise of train horns required to alert motorists and pedestrians about the proximity of trains.
The wayside horn is not a replacement for the horn being used on the bluffs, as conductors sound the horn as required under regulations when they see people on the right of way. The Federal Railroad Administration regulates the use of warning signals and train horns at crossings.
This project also included additional pedestrian safety enhancements to the crossing.
For more information, contact the City of Del Mar’s deputy director of public works, Joe Bride, at (858) 755-3294.