Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dorchester Soon To Be A Quiet Zone For Trains?


The Times has learned that village leaders have given initial approval to a study that could silence the train horns echoing through Dorchester -- a problem that has worsened in recent years as the Farmers Cooperative has expanded its grain storage capacity.

In July, the Times reported on the blockades occurring regularly at the town's railroad crossings due to stopped train cars, as well as efforts by other communities to quiet trains as they approach crossings.

According to an e-mail sent to the Times, a resident who attended Monday's Dorchester Village Board meeting asked the board to consider imposing a quiet zone for both railroad crossings entering town.  


The resident told the board that Hickman and south Lincoln had created quiet zones, thereby improving the quality of life for residents there.  The resident reportedly complained that his grandchildren were extremely disturbed by the loud horns, and noted that some train conductors blow the horn the entire length of the community, despite moving at a very slow speed.

The e-mail sent to the Times informs us that the town board members who were present agreed to consider a study by an engineering firm to look at the feasibility of making Dorchester a "no horn zone."

The e-mail also notes board members were informed by attorneys that there are many factors to be considered before being designated a no-horn area, such as installing concrete medians at the railroad crossings.

Board members were also told that a study for a quiet zone can be quite expensive.  Our source did not indicate whether or not the Farmers Cooperative may contribute to the cost of the study.

According to the Times' research, Lincoln has four designated quiet zones, which include twelve crossings along the BNSF railroad.


The City of Lincoln's website says a quiet zone is a minimum one-half mile long railroad corridor containing one or more public roadway crossings where train horns are not routinely sounded. All crossings must have flashing lights, gates, and constant warning before a quiet zone can be established. Train horns may still be sounded in the case of an equipment malfunction or if a person or vehicle is near the tracks.

While the railroad is the reason that Dorchester exists today, the Times continues to believe making Dorchester a quiet zone would improve our community's quality of life.  After all, the co-op's expansion over the past decade -- while a positive for Dorchester and its tax base -- is a large reason for the increased duration and frequency of horns sounding at all hours of the night.  A quite zone seems like it would be a "win-win" and a common-sense compromise to a tough situation. 


A big "thumbs up" to the resident(s) who took time to attend the village board meeting this week.  (Our staff members all agree we should have thought of that.)

12 comments:

  1. I'd rather hear a whistle, than have someone get killed, because they didn't know the train was coming, I think a life is worth alittle noise.

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    1. ....................................................... im not a city slicker and would never live in town ............................................ but who wants to here a stupid whistle every 30 mins all hours of the night ................................ i can here it way out here in the country ................................................. there are arm guards at the crossings with bright lights an loud bells ............................................... name the last time someone got killed at a crossing with arm guards .................................................. anywhere ..................................... in the world ............................................................ stop the madnesss and turn off the horns...............................................................................

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  2. That is a great idea!

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  3. Blocking traffic is a greater problem than whistles.
    Any solutions planned for that?

    Would really like a "no motor vehicle traffic blocking" zone.

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  4. The "Times" Reporters NEED to ACTUALLY attend a City Board meeting to correctly publish the
    true facts that were brought forward in the meeting and the actual decisions made. Some people
    are just born to complain. A train horn SAVES lives and has been a part of the Village for ever.

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    1. i have good intel that at least three of the times reporters were there. they're everywhere kinda like the walking dead. better look over your shoulder. bahahahahahahahahahahahahaha https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94B_4GSI-PI

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  5. Ummm, the town should look at silencing the horns, Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous. Didn't you read the story about the fact there would still be noice produced at the crossings or do you just like to complain and toss volunteers like the bloggers under the bus because its easy to sit behind a computer and complain?

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  6. "Quiet zones make crossings safer"- says no one ever. Only jackasses would say that. According to the FRA, trains hit a vehicle or pedestrian at a crossing every 115 minutes in the United States. Take the horns away, it'll become every 115 seconds. Trains have been here longer than any of you, and they play a major role in keeping our economy running. If you don't like their horns, move away from them.

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  7. Pleeeease don't tell me to move if I don't like the train horns. That makes you sound like your IQ hasn't reached double digits. It also makes you sound like a defender of our gravel roads. Guess what? You can work to improve our town's quality of life AND still enjoy living here. It IS possible.

    If you're so passionate about keeping the train horns, you should show up to the board meeting and lobby for keeping them. Let's see what kind of reception that gets! Even dumb people like me realize the trains have been here longer than anyone currently living in town, thanks for the enlightenment. The fact is, my grandmother, great grandma and great-great grandman, all of whom lived in Dorchester, never dealt with the extended whistles (which are louder than the were years ago) because of the coop's grain storage, which is roughly 1,000 times great than it was 20+ years ago

    Let's look at the facts, not the emotional dribble. Here is the truth:

    1.) Over the past many years, all the fatalities at train crossings in Nebraska have come at crossing with no arm guards, lights or bells. The only exception to that is a guy in south lincoln who intentionally drove his car into a moving train to take his life.

    2.) Since Lincoln and Hickman put in their "quiet zones," not only have there been no accidents, there have been no close calls.

    3.) On the evening/early morning hours of October 12, many trains came through Dorchester. One train at 12:30 a.m. was timed blowing its hours continuously for more than 20 seconds even though it couldnt have been moving over 10 mph.

    In a world of terrorism, cancer, Ebola, respiratory viruses brought in by immigrants, a federal debt that could ruin the global economy, stopping the trains from blowing their horns at dorchester's two mechanically guarded railroad crossings is the least of our concerns. The only ones who will be in danger are the ones who are dumb enough to run through the arms (in fact that will be nearly impossible if they put in concrete barriers).

    Stop the stupid trains horns. it's becoming unbearable.

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  8. How is coop responsible for more whistles? they are not blowing the whistle. Their track mobiles only honk if need to. The concrete barriers are only going to make it harder or impossible for semis turning at both crossings. Don't forget we are an ag community, having barriers will also keep farm equipment from using west crossing. Its called ear plugs wear them!

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    1. lets hope the farmer that left this comment will remember his concern for town residents when the n.r.d. puts meters on his irrigation wells next year and limits how much water he can put out of the ground. whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

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    2. At least we will have ear plugs so we can't hear him whining about that.

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