More train horns signal that quiet zones worthwhile

As you’ve probably heard — literally — the trains are coming. Trains that are longer and faster, and greater in number and frequency traveling through the city because of an expensive project involving two railroads on a line stretching from Indianapolis to Louisville.

Train engineers who are coming through Columbus are sounding their horns four times, as state law requires, at each of the four crossings within the city limits.

That’s 16 times per train as they pass four intersections: State Roads 46 and 11, and at Fifth, Eighth and 11th Streets. Any time — day or night.

CSX Railroad is making a $100 million investment to the tracks, bridges and signals along the entire 106-mile length of Louisville & Indiana Railroad’s line.

Recently, work was completed on a new Noblitt Park railroad bridge over the Flat Rock River, signaling the end of more than $12 million in improvements in the Louisville & Indiana rail line through Columbus.

With the number of trains starting to increase, the number of times we hear train horns each day also is increasing — and will pick up even more within the next month.

That’s making the city’s efforts to establish quiet zones at the four intersections — at a cost that could be as much as $250,000 — especially sound (no pun intended).

Columbus is working with CTC of Fort Worth, Texas, to assist with the planning needed for quiet zones through the four intersections, so the horns would not have to be sounded.

The city would have to place gates at all the crossings in the quiet zones, and make modifications to the crossings to prevent vehicles from passing through when a train is approaching.

Considering the disruption the greater train traffic will cause with greater traffic delays at crossings — until a planned west-side bypass is constructed — creating the quiet zones is one near-term remedy to make the inconvenience a little more bearable.