Wayside horn demonstration report to be released

Wayside horn demonstration report to be released
A report detailing the results of a train horn demonstration done last year in Cardiff is expected to be released soon. File photo by Morgan Mallory

ENCINITAS — A highly anticipated report detailing the results of a train horn demonstration near a proposed railroad crossing in Cardiff-by-the-Sea is expected to be released this week, city officials said.

The report stems from a city-sponsored demonstration in late September of several types of wayside horns that could be part of a warning system at the proposed at-grade crossing near Montgomery and San Elijo avenues.

The city has been considering a pedestrian-only crossing near Montgomery Avenue for a year, but has received push back from the neighborhood after the city determined it was unlikely the city would obtain a “quiet zone” designation from federal and state rail regulators for the crossing.

A quiet zone would mean that trains passing through the crossing would not be required to blow their horns, provided the crossing included other advanced warning devices.

Without that designation, the city would be left with two options: loud train horns or horn system at the crossing itself, known as a wayside horn system.

Residents have been opposed to any horn noise, wayside or locomotive, but city officials have been investigating several wayside horn options that generate less noise than the traditional variety.

The report will be released in advance of a Jan. 10 meeting of the Coastal Mobility and Livability Study Working Group, which has been working on, among other things, creating a long-term vision for the city’s six-mile rail corridor that stretches from Leucadia to Cardiff. This includes potential pedestrian crossings, safety measures and other improvements throughout the corridor.

During the hour long demonstration in September, crews simulated three horn sounds from loudspeakers in the vicinity of the tracks: one that blew the horn sounds toward the neighborhood and the Swami’s campground, a second that directed the horn sound toward the tracks, and a third, muffled warning system that could barely be heard from where the onlookers were standing some 500 feet away from the track.

Each horn sound was also accompanied by a bell sound, which came from a crewmember suspended above the tracks in the bucket of a public works ladder truck.

Neighbors expressed concerned that with the imminent installation of a second railroad track in the Cardiff area, that residents would be bombarded by noise every time a train crosses the tracks, upwards of 60 times per day.

Almost everyone agreed that the first two horn sounds were non-starters for the neighborhood.

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