Why do trains sound horns?

Historically, railroads have sounded locomotive horns or whistles in advance of grade crossings as a safety precaution. The FRA requires that freight and passenger trains sound horns 20 seconds prior to reaching public crossings, 24 hours a day, to warn motorists and pedestrians that a train is approaching, unless a quiet zone has been approved. Train crews may also sound their horns when there is a vehicle, person, or animal on or near the track, and the crew determines it is appropriate to provide warning. Crews may also sound the horn when there are track or construction workers within 25 feet of a live track, or when gates and lights at the crossing are not functioning properly.

Show All Answers

1. What is a Quiet Zone?
2. Will I still hear train horns if Quiet Zones are implemented?
3. What if inclement weather or power outages cause equipment not to work?
4. Why do trains sound horns?
5. Can constant exposure to high decibel noise poses possible health risks?
6. How can a Quiet Zone INCREASE safety at a crossing?
7. Can a Quiet Zone increase property value?
8. Are any crossings under review for closure?
9. What is the pattern for sounding the locomotive horn?
10. How long does it take to implement a Quiet Zone?
11. Which crossings are under review for Quiet Zones?
12. How can I get involved?