Have you heard the chimes from our local Metrolink station? Some neighbors have been disturbed by a noticeable increase in noise pollution from the train horns. The MCC reached out to Metrolink and received this response:
Dear Council Member,
We are sorry for the disturbance that you experienced because of horn noise. We appreciate you taking the time to provide feedback.
In recent months we have received a spike in horn complaints. We identified the issue as being related to locomotives that we are leasing from BNSF. Although the horns on the BNSF equipment fall within the mandated decibel range (96 to 110 dB at 100 feet forward of the locomotives direction of travel), they are a different type of horn – called a five chime (multi-directional) – that will be a different noise than people are accustomed to with Metrolink trains. The horns have different configuration and are located on the top of the locomotives which cause the horns to be more prominent and project farther. Our lease agreement with BNSF prohibits us from altering the locomotives. Decibel testing confirmed the locomotives horns operate at minimum of 96 decibels. We will continue to monitor that the use of the horns are within Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) guidelines.
Metrolink, as well as the freight carriers that operate on the rail lines, are required by federal law (Final Train Horn Rule) to begin sounding the locomotive horn at least 15 seconds before reaching a crossing, and to continue sounding the horn until the lead locomotive has completely occupied the crossing. Where there are multiple crossings in close proximity, the horn may appear to be prolonged until the train reaches the last crossing in the series. When there are crews working adjacent to the track, the law also requires the locomotive engineer to provide a series of warning blasts when approaching the work gang. Similarly, an engineer may sound the horn if they perceive a danger to a person or vehicle that is occupying, or might occupy the tracks, in the path of the train.Train engineers who fail to abide by these federal regulations can be assessed significant fines.
Please know that Metrolink is approximately half-way through the lease and has no intention of renewing the lease. [The BNSF lease should expire October / November of this year (2016). ] Again, we do apologize for any inconveniences and frustrations during the use of these locomotives. Your comments have been documented and are being made available to senior management.
Metrolink Customer Engagement
The MCC will continue to monitor this issue in order to provide a welcoming and enjoyable environment for our Montalvoites!
You can contact Metrolink directly at email@example.com