"City, county officials talk quiet zones with Union Pacific" by: Mike Reddell

City and county officials met with Union Pacific Railroad Company officials about railroad quiet zones in Bay City at a rail steering committee meeting Monday, Feb. 5. 
   The preliminary briefing given by UP officials follows months of railroad quiet zone discussions at city council meetings.
   Present at the meeting were Union Pacific’s Richard Zientek, a director of public affairs, and Dale Hill, manager of industry and public projects.
   Also participating, via tele-conferencing, was Carolyn Wood, with the Federal Rail Administration (FRE).
   “A quiet zone is poorly labeled - people think they will never hear (train horns) but that’s not true,” Hill told those attending.
   There are eight different patterns that train horns must be used, including people on the tracks, railroad workers, any switching operations, starts and stops, Hill noted.
   “”Moving forward we need to understand that process,” he added.
   Monday’s meeting – facilitated by D.C. Dunham and Dianna Kile – included discussions on the federally mandated process for establishing quiet zones, Bay City’s railroad crossings, train speeds through the city and the length a train can block a crossing.
   While the quiet zone proposals involve UP trains through Bay City, the switching operations – making up and breaking up trains - in midtown that block Seventh Street and other east-west thoroughfares rest with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) switching yards. 
   UP doesn’t do switching in Bay City, Hill said.
   That’s another railroad-related issue for Bay City residents and one that could involve a separate meeting between local officials and BNSF.
   Federal requirements call for crossing upgrades in quiet zones and any costs involved will be on the city – something that city council has been told previously.
   Once those upgrade requirements are met, then a formal process of filing notices will begin, Hill explained.
   Quiet zones will reduce the noise from train horns, but Hill pointed out that horns will sound at nearby crossings not in those zones.
   Dunham asked about crossing warning systems in the city.
   There are several different kinds of 20-second warnings used, Hill said.
   “It depends on what the train is doing,” he added.

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