Train horns are required by federal law to be sounded at all public crossings, 24 hours a day, to warn motorists and pedestrians that a train is approaching. A quiet zone is a stretch of track where the Federal Railroad Administration has agreed that trains are not required to routinely sound the horn at each public crossing except in emergencies, such as someone on the track or workers within 25 feet of the track or at the discretion of the crew, as appropriate.
Quiet Zones have been established for all 10 railroad crossings in North Richland Hills. The Quiet Zone became effective when TEXRail service began on January 5, 2019. Residents should now be hearing far fewer train horns than before. Keep in mind that a train engineer may still sound the horn in emergencies such as a vehicle or person on the track, workers within 25 feet of the track or at the discretion of the crew as needed for safety.
While horns are no longer routinely sounded at each crossing, bells do begin to sound when the crossing signal is activated and continue until the train completely passes through the intersection. The bells are required by federal law to warn those who may be visually impaired.
At the rail stations, train operators also use bells to alert passengers of an incoming/outgoing train to/from the station.
There are different options available to make a railroad crossing eligible for the quiet zone designation. All ten of NRH’s crossings received safety improvements and equipment necessary to qualify them for this designation. In most crossing locations, a median is included, but is not always required. The alternative to a median is to include a “quad gate” design, which means that there are gates across the roadway on both sides of the tracks. With raised medians, the railroad is only required to provide gate arms on one side of the tracks since the median would prevent a driver from crossing into the oncoming lane to avoid the gate.
Both Eden Road and Holiday Lane have the quad gate design with no median. Browning, Rufe Snow, Iron Horse, Mid-Cities, Main Street, and Smithfield have medians with two gated roadway legs. Finally, Davis and Precinct Line have both medians and quad gates. Again, all crossings in NRH are part of the quiet zone.