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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

FRA seeks public comments on train-horn rule

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is soliciting public comment on whether the agency should change federal regulations of the use of locomotive horns at public grade crossings.

The FRA's regulations generally require locomotive horn use at crossings except within authorized quiet zones. The agency is seeking comments from the rail industry and others as part of a continual review of existing rules, according to the proposed rulemaking published today in the Federal Register.

Regulators are seeking input from the rail industry and state and local officials to determine whether there are any "regulatory burdens" associated with the rule while still maintaining the highest safety levels. The FRA will accept comments through July 5.

FRA regulations currently require that engineers sound the locomotive horns while approaching public grade crossings until the lead locomotive fully occupies the crossing. In general, the locomotive engineers must begin to sound the horn for a minimum of 15 seconds and a maximum of 20 seconds ahead of the crossing.

Engineers also must sound the horn in a standardized pattern of two long, one short and one long blast, and the horn must continue to sound until the lead locomotive or train car occupies the crossing.

The FRA published its final rule on train horns in 2005, and hasn't substantially revised it since 2006.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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