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Rancho Santa Fe

Quieter trains whisk through Del Mar

DEL MAR — The first train to use the fully implemented wayside horn system passes through Del Mar a little after 11 a.m. on Sept. 14. 

The train can remotely trigger the horn at the crossing instead of blowing its own horn at a louder volume from a greater distance away.

During a test period the prior week, both the train and wayside horn were blown simultaneously. Now the conductor will not blow the train horn unless he or she perceives someone is dangerously close to the tracks. Residents and North County Transit District paid for the $450,000 project. No city funds were used.

“We haven’t heard any trains go by all day,” Michael Slosser, vice president and general manager of nearby L’Auberge Del Mar, said a few hours later. “The technology must be good.”

Slosser said most hotel guests didn’t complain about the horns. “A lot of them saw it as part of the charm of the hotel, but they could be annoying,” he said. “This should solve that.”

The wayside system, which mimics the sound of a horn when a train approaches, must sound when a train is 1,300 feet from the crossing. It will sound at 92 decibels 100 feet from the center line.

Train horns sound at about 110 decibels. Hair dryers and vacuum cleaners sound off at about 90 decibels, a rock concert at 110 and fireworks at about 140.


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