by Martha Quetsch
The price tag for wayside horns in Elburn went down when village officials negotiated a new contractor bid and persuaded railroad officials to waive an insurance requirement.
â€œIn a couple of weeks, we saved about $125,000,â€ Village Administrator David Morrison said Monday.
Village officials previously knew of just one company that could install the wayside horns to reduce train whistles in town, Railroad Controls Limited (RCL). RCL’s first bid was $195,277, to install the horns at both downtown rail crossings.
However, several weeks ago, Campbell Technology Corporation (CTC), approach-ed the village with a bid of $173,500.
Because of that competition, village officials were able to obtain a lower price from RCL, $124,125. The Village Board on Monday approved RCL’s new bid.
The insurance savings resulted when Union Pacific Railroad (UP) agreed to waive the requirement that the contractor obtain pollution liability coverage for the horn project, which would have been an additional $50,000 expense for the village.
Horn installation, at the First Street and Main Street crossings, cannot begin until the Illinois Commerce Commission approves the village contract for the project with the crossings’ owner, UP; that approval, and obtaining the equipment, could take several months, village officials said.
Morrison is uncertain exactly when the horns will be installed, but said, â€œIt will be done this year.â€
Both Railroad Controls Limited and Campbell Technology Corporation are Texas-based, but RCL is the only company that has installed wayside horns in Illinois.
In addition to the installation cost, the village will have to pay $54,000 for project engineering and $34,000 for liability insurance for the wayside horns. Another expense will be approximately $2,500 for UP flaggers during the installation.
The Federal Railroad Administration approved the wayside horns as a safety requirement to allow Elburn to be a whistle-free zone. The wayside horns will direct their sound only toward the immediate area of pedestrian and vehicular traffic near the crossings. Trains still will blow their whistles if the wayside horn lights are not functioning, or if the locomotive engineer sees a safety hazard.