PTC must do more to silence loud CSX freight trains on 74

I moved to Peachtree City back in June of 2008. I chose Peachtree City for the great living in the overall peacefulness of the area. I purchased my home in the Cedarcroft subdivision knowing my home would be right next to the CSX railroad track.

But also knowing that there were no railroad crossings in the area, I thought there would be no horn sounds. Boy, was I wrong.

There seems to be games played by the trains passing our subdivision as well as the Centennial and other neighboring subdivisions on how many times and how loud they can be with their horns. On the night of April 9 and 10 several trains passed by sounding their horns. One sounded its horn over 15 times.

I have sent several emails to Mayor Don Haddix and City council members, and Mayor Haddix’s reply was, “You think it’s bad now, wait until the Kia plant is at full capacity. It will only get worse and CSX is also planning on adding additional rail lines through the area and there is nothing we can do about it.”

He also said that there is nothing we can do because the tracks are under federal control; in other words, it’s a federal issue, not a local issue.

Well, Mr. Mayor you are wrong. We as citizens of the area have every right to complain at both the local level to CSX, the city, county as well as the federal level.

CSX is governed by the Federal Railroad Administration and they must answer to local government complaints and concerns. In addition we as a city have options.

But the big question I have is why has the city not contacted CSX and the Federal Railroad Administration to establish a “quiet zone” on trains passing through our city. It can be done and not at such a high cost.

I have been reading the federal regulations that govern the use of locomotive horns (Department of Transportation, FRA 49 CFR Parts 222 and 229) and we as a local community can request a “quiet zone” be established within our city limits.

Federal Railroad Administration Train Horn Rule Fact Sheet states: “A new quiet zone must be at least one-half mile in length and have at least one public highway-rail grade crossing. Every public grade crossing in a new quiet zone must be equipped at minimum with the standard or conventional flashing light and gate automatic warning system. A quiet zone may be established to cover a full 24-hour period or only during the overnight period from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

“Local governments must work in cooperation with the railroad that owns the track, and the appropriate state transportation authority to form a diagnostic team to assess the risk of collision at each grade crossing where they wish to silence the horn. An objective determination is made about where and what type of additional safety engineering improvements are necessary to effectively reduce the risk associated with silencing the horns based on localized conditions such as highway traffic volumes, train traffic volumes, the accident history and physical characteristics of the crossing, including existing safety measures.

“Examples of additional safety engineering improvements that may be necessary to reduce the risk of collisions include: medians on one or both sides of the tracks to prevent a motorist from driving around a lowered gate; a four-quadrant gate system to block all lanes of highway traffic; converting a two-way street into a one-way street; permanent closure of the crossing to highway traffic; or use of wayside horns posted at the crossing directed at highway traffic only.”

It appears to me that this would be a worthwhile undertaking by the city which would benefit a significant part of our city’s population. It would dramatically improve the quality of living in our city.

Let’s put resources to this goal of silencing the CSX trains traveling through our city.

I encourage everyone to go the CSX website (www.csx.com) under the “contact us” and complain every time a train passes sounding its horns. I also encourage everyone to contact City Council, and Mayor Don Haddix and ask that the city take this issue on.

Maybe instead of widening the cart path bridge over Lake Peachtree at Ga. Highway 54, we should spend that money on any improvements that may be needed at our railroad crossings that will be needed to establish this needed quiet zone.

William Nieves

Peachtree City, Ga.

juliacleath
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Train Quiet Zones

William,

Well written. I have been here 8 years, and totally know what you are talking about..... The city I came from (with a rail running the length of the town) was COMPLETELY quiet. It was really nice. It took several years to get the medians in and so forth, but it was well worth it in the end! Of course the city (upper mid-west) I'm from has also had 100% of citizens recycling for over 20 years! So I'm guessing the "quiet zone" proposal may be a long wait. But I'll put in my complaint on their site. Thanks for writing! (Sorry most comments were so mean spirited!)

Busy Bee
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R.R. Crossings

Mr. Nieves writes: "also knowing that there were no railroad crossings in the area, I thought there would be no horn sounds."

Did he not notice the at-grade crossing across from Kedron Drive South where the old cable company used to be? It is only about a mile from Cedarcroft. If I was buying a house on the tracks I might have thought to myself "I wonder where the northbound trains are when they start blowing their horns for that crossing?". Even though the crossing leads to just a dirt road in the woods, the CSX engineer doesn't care. He only cares about preventing some idiot in a car from playing chicken with him at the crossing. The only way he can do that is by blowing the horn.

Mr. Nieves, don't ask the citizens of PTC to bail you out from your failure to do due diligence.

nievesw
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Nothing to do with RR crossing

I have no intention of moving. I have spoken with CSX and they agree that the horns should not be sounding in this area. The crossing you speak about is not next to Cedarcroft and that is not the issue. QUIET Zones are leagal and are up all over the country. We already have lights and grates at our crossings so cost should be minimual at best. Please read the FRA regulations so you will be up to speed. The city needs to get up off its rearend and address this not concern themselves with a perfectly good cart bridge

RMEAV8R
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Invest in Bose

Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones may help. Maybe not as you would not have a cause to whine about anymore so try CVS, they sell cheap earplugs that are not very comfortable. Wow, then you would have more things to whine about because of your poor decision making! Get a life already!

YourGoodPalMike
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Trains don't bother me (as long as they are safe)

I live in one of the neighborhoods mentioned (next to the tracks). I can hear them go by, but guess what: I got used to it quickly (in about three or four nights). Now I can sleep with the windows open on cool spring nights and the train goes by all night. I sleep through it like a baby. Doesn't bother me a bit. The only thing I worry about is a toxic spill or something similar, but even that is more of a problem for the rest of peachtree city (like the sound of the horn) because of the prevailing winds. Here in PTC the wind almost always comes from a northwest or southwest pattern, and that's why people two miles east of the tracks can hear it while some of us closer to the tracks might not. Same goes with a chemical spill. It will actually be least likely to affect those in Cedarcroft, Centennial, Chadsworth, Wynnmede and the apartments.

matt.barnes
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Trains Bahahahahaha

Poor William :( He bought a house on the wrong side of the tracks. We should start a special SPLOST and help him out :(

normal
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I enjoy the train sounds as it comes through

It is called liability. They have to sound their horns at all intersections. Simple as that. See I fixed the bitch session. The louder the better. Cant believe some of you yahoos bought along the fence by the tracks. Your bed must vibrate at night. Kind of like those 1960s holiday inn beds that you put a quarter inn and they would shake. Oh the good old days.

PTCBernie
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Train Whistles

This ranks right up there with the folks who buy a house near an airport then try to get it shut down because it's too noisy. You knew it was there, if you didn't take the time to look further into the situation, you aren't justified in complaining about it. Just my $0.02, but I'm sticking to it.

If I'm not mistaken, the area you're describing is one of the few crossings without crossing arms in PTC. That's most likely the reason the engineer always sounds the whistle there. Even if this were declared a "Quiet Zone", would that type of crossing still require the engineer to sound the whistle as he approached?

coach
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trains

Just for your information most towns and cities that pass legislation restricting train horns ends up changing it because it leads to more acidents involving people walking on the track and coming aroung railroad crossing gates. Before you start asking for this change I think you need to do more research on train operations and the history behind why the trains use there horns where they do. Federal law requres them to blow two shorts and one long for a dististance until they reach a crossing they are not tring to get back at the town for being stupid. Your sugestions have flaws of their own in that they restrict the emergency vehichels that have to go around gates from time to time.

JollyTechnologies
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Learn from the past

A long time ago, PTC passed a law saying trains could not blow their horns within the city limits. CSX sent their lawyers to town and thanked the city for taking responsibility for their trains while in the city limits, because FEDERAL LAW requires trains to blow their horns a specific intervals. Soon after PTC rescinded the law because the responsibility was to great and that FEDERAL LAW supersedes all State and local laws.

Please people remember that if there are train tracks near your house there will be train whistles.

nievesw
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PAST did it wrong

They cannot just pass a law....It must be worked with CSX, Ferderal Railroad Asministration and the local GOV. The steps are clearly spelled out in the FRA that I quoted.

Spyglass
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IF you raise the money Mr. Nieves...

I would be in favor of what you speak of. Otherwise, it's a waste of taxpayer moneys, in my humble opinion.

What Mr. Morgan speaks of below is about spot on with what happened. My advice, live with it.

Dondol
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We should all change because you didn't do your Homework?

Why is it that people move into a town/city and the first thing they want to do is make changes so that it looks/feels like where they left. Before you move in somewhere do your homework, get out of the car and knock on some doors, meet the neighbors and ask some questions, try and be an informed citizen don't just buy a bill of goods from the real estate agent. Stupid is as stupid does.

ercroyals
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Train Horns

I used to live right on hwy 74 where the carpets of dalton store is at now (Where all the Tractors where). It took some getting use to at first and then I grew to love it. it's a long lost battle sorry to say about the horns and there are cross roads (I am just not sure if they are still being used or not now) so it is all for safety precautions. I have a cousin who works for a railroad in FL. and another cousin who was killed in a crossroad.

jevank
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Choo choo!

I did a Google search of your property, and your house could very well be the closest house to the railroad in Peachtree City. Did you at least do that before you bought your house?

Your last paragraph says it all. You know that this was on the list of the remaining splost money, but the Lake Peachtree Path bridge received higher priority. It will take about $800,000 just to improve the RR crossings to meet the criteria for a quiet zone. I think the Lake bridge could wait, but it needs to be done.

I, like you, was directed to those homes numerous times by my realtor. I learned very quickly that, although I love the sound of a train whistle, I didn’t want it that close.

We, as taxpayers in a very bad economy, are saying “no more.” Council has done a pretty good job of cutting the budget, and adding a buyers’ remorse line item is not the answer.

Continue your fight with the federal government. Fight the builder. Fight the realtor. Fight for a new splost (Good luck with that.) Just don’t expect any sympathy from the citizens here.

I just heard the train whistle. I have to admit, I do love that sound. :)

mudcat
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You know about the $2,000 bonus jevank?

Realtors get bonus compensation from some builders for special services.

Train City could well be one of them.

Anybody else seen pressure to consider certain neighborhoods?

jevank
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I wouldn't be surprised, Mudcat

The sad part is that my realtor knew I had lived here since early 90s. I knew PTC well. The people just moving into the area are being manipulated to the point of criminal activity as far as I'm concerned.

My heart actually goes out to this guy. He has two choices: either continue an unbeatable fight or learn to live with it. Of course, he was lucky in one respect...he bought at a good time. He could have bought when I did...2006 (ouch!!) I think city council should bail me out of this mess. Will you speak on my behalf, Mud?

The Wedge
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from where we live

it is a nice sound at that distance, huh?

jevank
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You heard it too, didn't you?

So relaxing with a cup of coffee.

The Wedge
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No, Jevank

I am out of the state right now, but we hear it in the subdivision, and it is a pleasant nostaglic sound from that distance

skyspy
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Very Peaceful

If you live just the right distance from the tracks it is very peaceful. My friends love it late at night when we are listening to some good blues . It sounds just like a sleepy little southern town should. I look forward to it every night.

Robert W. Morgan
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Trains playing with their horns, Mr. Naive?

They sure are and I think you need to know why they do this. History lesson. Back in the 1980's the same train tracks and crossings were there and 2 things happened. First a female employee of the cable company was killed by a train as she was leaving work. After that CSX was playing it by the book by blowing the horns at each crossing. Secondly, one of our local genius councilmen (who lived in Spyglass - way across the lake) was bothered by the train horns and he introduced some legislation to put some restrictions on CSX. That of course did not have the desired effect since annoying CSX is about as smart as annoying DOT (which a certain former mayor did - and he is the answer to the trivia question Who is most responsible for the Hwy 74 delays? But I digress).

Anyway, CSX blew off PTC council and their foolish attempt to regulate train horns and the noise you hear is CSX engineers mocking us at 3 AM. This is a tradition that has gone on for over 20 years. If your Realtor has been in business more than a few days when you bought your house, she might owe you an apology. If she belongs to the developer's real estate company, she may have to see if she remembers the training sessions on material defects taught by Weisman, Novak, Curry that covered these train horns and the history outlined above.

Do your homework before you buy your home. City Hall is very cooperative and open about discussing and disclosing. Most Realtors will not be very forthcoming about things like this - they like to hide behind the "I represent the seller" as the excuse for non-disclosure. Which is actually legally correct, but not helpful to buyers.

And council - please don't get involved in this. We don't need to spend money we don't have and we sure don't need the CSX people getting their back up again.

Bonkers
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Morgan

I would not be surprised if what you say about the Railroad people and the Georgia Department of Transportation is absolutely true.
It is true of the Postal Service also. Once a retailer asked if a drop mail box could be moved from an extreme end of a strip mall to the center so everyone could use it more easily. They moved it to the other extreme end!

Now, I'll never believe that Realtors teach their scores of agents what to be quiet about! Why next thing you will be telling me that used car dealers and salesmen do such things!

Then you will tell me that Dry Cleaning establishments who burn an expensive shirt pressing it, or an expensive table cloth, will say you brought it in that way and they couldn't get it out! Goodness!

Maybe then you will say that parents of children who destroy goods in a store do not want to negotiate payment for the item! It is the store's tough luck and God's plan.

Now as to city hall being very cooperative in ratting out Realtors, that is a joke, right?
Call and ask them sometime just who the Chief of Police works for directly.

Robert W. Morgan
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Yes bonkers, yes bonkers, you only have to say it once

Of course everything I said was true - I was there!
Speaking of the post office I am reminded by another incident. When they were building the post office at its present location (used to be in Willowbend) PTC building department put a stop work ordr on them because the parking lot was not level or even safe for parking and walking - too much slope from the curb. Not only did they ignore the stop work order (federal soverngity, I think)they paved it the next day. You can walk or drive on the results today. Nice huh?

The Wedge
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why do I care, William

I have heard trains from my house almost every evening that I have lived here. I lived in hotel for a month in PTC during the move and I heard it there as well. Why should we spend this money for an issue that you should have known about before your purchase. It is called due diligence.

skyspy
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What Were You Thinking?

You could have asked anyone in the city other than your realtor and they would have told you what to expect. I feel for you, it sounds like you had a dishonest realtor who helped you buy a train wreck from an equally dishonest builder.
Hopefully once the market turns around you will be able to dump it or turn it into a rental.

AtHomeGym
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Train Whistles (Horns)

Why don't you try to learn to love them! And knock off that incessant PTC citizen whine!

mcg
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Train Whistles

I don't think that in this economic climate we need to spend money on making improvements to the railroad crossings in order to silence the CSX trains. The people who bought homes in Cedarcroft and Centennial knew that the railroad tracks were there when they bought their homes. Mr. Nieves says that he "thought there would be no horn sounds", but that seems rather uninformed. He could have easily asked someone who lives there about the train whistles. We don't have the money to make expensive improvements in order to accommodate homeowners who didn't do their homework.

nievesw
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What is the real cost

But yet we are willing to spend money on replacing a perfectly good cart bridge. Not hardly. If everyone really looks to see waht the reall cost would be I can safely say Quiet Zone would cost less than replacing a cart bridge in good shape

newtoPTC2
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the horns are loud

I agree, the train is too loud at night.

I moved to PTC about 2 years ago not knowing about the train. I first lived off of crosstown and peachtree parkway, and just about every night was awoke by the train horn. I do think they shouldn't be allowed to blow the horn at certain times at night, during the day it's no bother. When I was ready to move in looking for another place the train was a factor, I wanted to be as far away from the train tracks, but in PTC that is not very far. So I moved off 54 and peachtree parkway and guess what.... I still hear the horn at night. But not as bad. I will go on that website and put my two cents in. That 10 pm - 7 am no horn rule sounds good.

NewtoPTC

JollyTechnologies
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sorry but not legal

Sorry but FEDERAL LAW requires the whistles, and no city can pass a law that conflicts with FEDERAL LAW

nievesw
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Not so

Please read what I wrote... I quoted the FEDERAL REGULATIONS that applies to QUIET ZONES. No law needs to be passed. It must be worked with CSX, the FRA and the local GOV.....Thanks

S. Lindsey
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JT is correct Horn must be sounded

So go ahead put your 2 cents worth in.. It will be worth what you put into it..

nievesw
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Many Cities have QUIET ZONES

Many Cities have worked with the Railroad companies and the FRA to establish QUIET ZONES. Many are in the North east MID west and in Florida. So it can be done.

The Wedge
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but in these economic times

we will most likely choose not to invest the capital to allow PTC to have quiet zones. But cheer up, your health care will be guaranteed by the Feds

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