VIDEO: Connecticut becomes first New England state with grade crossing horns

RELATED TOPICS: NORTHEAST | SAFETY | TECHNOLOGY | AMTRAK
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MERIDEN, Conn. — On Monday, the Connecticut Department of Transportation announced that Connecticut would become the first state in New England to install automated horn systems, commonly known as wayside horns, at various rail at-grade crossings. Installed as part of the department's noise mitigation efforts along the CTrail Hartford Line, the first horn became operational today at the Cooper Street crossing in Meriden.

Trains News Wire contributor Scott A. Hartley recorded video of a northbound Amtrak Vermonter train at that location.

Department Commissioner James P. Redeker states, “As we gear up for service launch on the Hartford Line, we are eager to be at the forefront of wayside horn system installation in Connecticut and recognize the benefits it brings to communities along the line.”

A wayside horn system consists of stationary horns mounted on poles at active rail at-grade crossing. The system is designed to provide a consistent audible warning to motorists and pedestrians upon the approach of a train to the at-grade crossing. Wayside horns take the place train-mounted horns, which typically are activated up to a half mile in advance of the crossing. By focusing audible warnings toward the roadways approaching at-grade crossings, wayside horns reduce noise associated with railroad at-grade crossings.

The installation of wayside horns helps the department satisfy one of the conditions of the 2012 Environmental Assessment prepared for the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Program, which requires noise associated with the enhanced rail service to be mitigated near sensitive noise receptors, such as residential neighborhoods, educational institutions and recreational areas.

“The installation of wayside horns is consistent with the department's commitment to safety at grade crossings and fulfills our obligation to reduce noise associated with the Program, thereby improving quality of life for our neighbors along the corridor,” said John Bernick, department assistant rail administrator. “We will look to install additional systems along the Hartford Line in specific areas to reduce train horn noise as we approach service launch.”

The CTrail Hartford Line service will provide more frequent, convenient and faster passenger rail service between New Haven, Hartford and Springfield by increasing the number of round trip trains from six daily Amtrak intercity and regional trains to a total of 17 round trip trains a day to Hartford, and 12 trains per day to Springfield. The majority of the existing rail stations will be replaced and several new stations will be built. The expanded service and new stations are expected to increase ridership, improve the high speed and passenger rail system serving the northeast, expand intermodal transportation options, encourage economic development and create more livable and sustainable communities.

More information is available online.

— A Connecticut Department of Transportation news release. Oct. 24, 2016.

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