A quiet zone is a section of rail line that contains one or more consecutive railroad crossings at which locomotive horns are not routinely sounded. The train horns can be silenced only when other safety measures, such as railroad crossing enhancements, compensate for the absence of the horns.
In 2005, the Federal Railroad Administration(FRA) issued a final rule on the use of locomotive horns at railroad crossings. The rule requires locomotive horns be sounded as a warning to highway and street users at public railroad crossings. As part of the final rule, thousands of communities nationwide can mitigate the impacts of train horn noise by establishing new quiet zones.
OCTA partnered with eight cities along the rail corridor to implement rail safety enhancements that provided the cities with the opportunity to establish a quiet zone.
Crossings in the cities of Anaheim, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin and San Clemente have established quiet zones.
How to Report a Train Horn Violation
Federal law requires train engineers to sound their horns – two long bursts, a short burst and one long burst – every time a train approaches a railroad crossing. However, all trains are prohibited from sounding their horns in a quiet zone unless an emergency stems from pedestrians or vehicles on or near the train tracks. A violation of a quiet zone would include the specific horn pattern mentioned above.
To report a potential train horn violation, please identify the railroad crossing, engine number, day and time and length of horn sound, if possible. These reports can be emailed to your city representative. The complaint will be kept on file with the city and forwarded to the appropriate railroad and the FRA with a request to take action, if necessary.
Railroad Crossing Locations with Quiet Zones
Fact Sheet: Orange County Railroad Crossings & Quiet Zones