Final approval still forthcoming
BY MELANIE JONGSMA
LANSING, Ill. (December 7, 2018) – Lansing Public Works was busy at five Lansing railroad crossings in mid-November. The required flexible delineators were installed at those locations, a next step in making the areas Quiet Zones, which means train horns will not sound at those crossings.
Flexible delineators are designed to prevent vehicles from going around the gate when it is down. Adding that safety measure is required before CSX Rail will agree to discontinue train horns, because the horns are also intended as a safety measure.
“No Train Horn” signage has also been installed, though the signs are covered for now. “The reason we cover the signs is so the public doesn’t think the Quiet Zone is now in effect,” explained Jeff Pintar, who serves as Village Engineer. “As of now, we are not yet ready to set a definitive date as to when the Quiet Zone will be established.”
Pintar explained that additional safety measures are required in order to compensate for the loss of the train horns. “We need to be sure all of the safety measures are installed in accordance with federal guidelines before notifying the railroads we are ready for the Quiet Zone to begin.”
One wonders what the ramification would be if the “No Train Horn” sign was left uncovered, the crossing was blocked by a flashing railroad gate, and an unsuspecting driver then heard the horn of an approaching train.
Didn’t seem to help the teenager that was struck and killed by an AmTrak train while crossing over the tracks between 186th and Torrence Ave outside the safety of the designated area back in 2011. One could say it wouldn’t have happened had this person crossed at the appropriate place within view of the downed gates. Let’s pray there is never a gate malfunction once the “No Train Horn” is fully implemented. Who will be responsible for any casualties? The answer: all except the engineer because his hands were tied. And then there was silence.
There is a price to convert a crossing to a Quiet Zone. The FRA (http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/quiet/login.aspx) puts it at $250,000 or more for each crossing. Lansing has 5 crossings. While there may be some financial assistance, it doesn’t cover all expenses. Was this really a priority? I would rather the Village bought in bulk ear plugs for all those who were kept awake by the intermittent sound of safety.
Correction, 6 crossings.
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