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NoCo Leaders, Bennet Meet To Muffle Train Horns

Grace Hood
Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat sits next to Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez as U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet listens in.

Train horn regulations were front-and-center Monday Dec. 2 in Fort Collins during a discussion between Northern Colorado leaders and Democratic Senator Michael Bennet.

The Federal Rail Administration is reassessing a 2005 rule that requires sounding the horn for at least 15 seconds before public grade crossings.

In Fort Collins, Mayor Karen Weitkunat says when nearly a dozen trains pass through town every day blasting their horns it impacts the quality of life.

“If you look at the city of fort Collins and all the intersections, it’s a continuous blow basically, and that’s annoying,” she said.


Fort Collins is currently pursuing waivers with the Federal Railroad Administration to limit noise. The town of Windsor is looking at a more expensive alternative in the form of building quiet zones thanks to a $2.7 million grant.

Senator Bennet says the national rule needs more flexibility.

“This is really is affecting the long term economic health of our communities, the ability to plan the economic development of our downtowns,” he said.

The bottom line according to Bennet is that the FRA needs to give communities more options.

The FRA says the new horn rule has made railroad crossings safer since 2005. A revised rule could be in effect as soon as the spring of 2014. 

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