Directional horns at crossings will reduce train-whistle blares
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”Wayside horn installation is expected to begin at Elburnâ€™s two downtown freight train crossings Monday, June 29, village officials said.
The project is the result of village officialsâ€™ multi-year quest for a way to rid the village of train whistles.
Village trustees agreed in April 2008 to pursue the wayside horn project and later received Federal Railroad Administration approval of the safety measure allowing the village 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.
The village agreed in April to pay the company Railroad Controls Limited $124,125 for the horns and installation at the First Street and Main Street crossings, and then obtained Illinois Commerce Commission approval for the project with the crossingsâ€™ owner, Union Pacific railroad.
Village Administrator Erin Willrett said she did not know whether vehicular traffic would be affected by the horn installation project.
Among the many safety measures village officials studied as ways to comply with federal regulations allowing for a whistle-free zone, the wayside horns was the least expensive, village officials said.
Another measure they considered was installing a center barrier of pylons at the First Street crossing, but they found the potential cost of $400,000 to be prohibitive.
Village-hired engineer will monitor horn project
The villageâ€™s Public Works Committee on Monday recommended that the village pay Hanson Engineering $7,995 to manage and monitor the wayside horn construction and installation project performed by the company Railroad Controls Limited.
The committee also reviewed the scope of the companyâ€™s role in the 10-day project and agreed that if construction takes longer than 10 days, the village should pay Hanson an additional $550 per additional day for construction monitoring.
Village officials said Hanson will provide daily construction management of work performed by RCL and its subcontractors to make sure it conforms to plans and specifications. Hanson also will monitor and witness the testing and start-up procedures with the Union Pacific (UP) railroad.
The contract with Hanson will require Village Board approval.