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Western Railroad Discussion > Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents


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Date: 03/15/19 08:55
Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: walstib

San Jose residents are upset over Union Pacific’s new operating plan, which has seen an increase in traffic on the Warm Springs line through downtown, including some 3 a.m. trains which blow their horn at all the crossings. 

The San Jose paper has a story on the issue today. See link below.

It’s the typical “we didn’t sign up for this” said one new homeowner vs. “the tracks have been there since the 1870s” argument.

For those unfamiliar with the area, the Warm Springs line slices diagonally through a residential area north of downtown, runs through Japan Town, and out to Milpitas. From there, the tracks run up to Niles Junction.

The lines run through historically-industrial neighborhoods, which have seen an increase in housing built over recent decades.

https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/03/15/more-trains-blaring-horns-through-downtown-san-jose-at-night/



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/19 08:56 by walstib.



Date: 03/15/19 09:05
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: HotWater

Sounds like a prime location to put a "Quiet Zone" in.



Date: 03/15/19 09:08
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: CarolVoss

We are natives of San Jose and all too familiar with these tracks and this is not the first time they have raised a fuss over the trains—- the last time was about 25 years ago and the UP response was basically “TOUGH!!!”.  😀. I also recall when Rod Diridon was getting the light rail system built and was planning to run it over the SP tracks at grade on First St and when Mad Dog Ongerth heard of it he said “I dont think so” and hence the project was delayed and over budget as they dug an underpass. 😀
C

Carol Voss
Salinas, CA



Date: 03/15/19 09:36
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: pdt

Its 10 mph track.  U'd think they could use minimal horn at 3am....



Date: 03/15/19 10:11
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: stevelv

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Its 10 mph track.  U'd think they could use
> minimal horn at 3am....

With all the crazy lawsuits against railroads over the years I can see some drunk or impatient driver getting hit by the train and then their lawyer thinks he has a case because he found out the train didn't blow two longs a short and a long...



Date: 03/15/19 10:23
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: santafe199

pdt Wrote: > ... U'd think they could use minimal horn ...

Oh sure, and risk getting fired or at least heavily disciplined for not strictly obeying the rules????? In this day & age that's NOT likely to happen...

Lance/199 (former career RR'er)



Date: 03/15/19 10:23
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: HotWater

stevelv Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> pdt Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Its 10 mph track.  U'd think they could use
> > minimal horn at 3am....
>
> With all the crazy lawsuits against railroads over
> the years I can see some drunk or impatient driver
> getting hit by the train and then their lawyer
> thinks he has a case because he found out the
> train didn't blow two longs a short and a long...

Right! Plus the event recorder and the forward-facing video from the cab would surely verify that the Engineer did NOT "properly blow the horn".



Date: 03/15/19 10:26
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: jointauthority

Day or night, nobody is going to be sleeping when I’m coming through town! Well no one besides my conductor that is....

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Its 10 mph track.  U'd think they could use
> minimal horn at 3am....

Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/15/19 10:32
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: Westbound

That reopening of some 25 years ago was remarkable. The old SP line had been shut down for several years. The very first train through struck a Volkswagen at the Old Bayshore Hwy (I think that was the one) crossing, flipping it over. The husband and wife occupants were not wearing seat belts, had been arguing, never noticed the train and struck the lead locomotive as it intered the crossing. Both were taken to the hospital in critical condition.  

I did not even know that track was back in service until I got the call around 1 AM. My 2nd surprise upon arrival was to discover the crossing warning system consisted of two old grinding Griswold machines. These are the ones with red flashing lights below the steel crossbuck plus a mechanical rotating “stop” sign. The last ones I had seen were in the state railroad museum in Sacramento.  Next to the crossing was a Christian half-way house for substance abusers. As soon as he heard the impact, one of the men staying there came running out and prayed over the semi-conscious couple. Husband was out of the hospital hours later and the wife was out in two days! Car went to the junkyard.

CarolVoss Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> We are natives of San Jose and all too familiar
> with these tracks and this is not the first time
> they have raised a fuss over the trains—- the
> last time was about 25 years ago and the UP
> response was basically “TOUGH!!!”.......



Date: 03/15/19 10:59
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: zephyrus

I cross these tracks on a regular basis.  Between downtown and Milpitas they cross streets at off angles and in some cases cut close to intersections.  Cars act like the tracks are not even there, stopping on them and blocking them constantly.

I have had people honk their horns at me because I won't stop on them during a slowdown or red light.  Once, I was crossing them and a car cut me off and stopped due to red light, leaving me hanging over the rails.

When I have caught a train coming through, the inevitably have to blow the horn long and loud to warn cars, semis, pedestrians, etc. off the tracks.  And add in the fact that the homeless have begun setting up tents on the ROW between Brokaw Road and downtown and I am not surprised that late night trains are laying on the horn.  Many of the encampments are just outside the clearance and no matter who they are, I have never met an engineer who wants to hit someone.

Saw the special agents and some MOW workers talking to folks in a homeless camp off 10th Street yesterday.  Likely requesting they move.

Z



Date: 03/15/19 11:48
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: funnelfan

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Its 10 mph track.  U'd think they could use
> minimal horn at 3am....

The Feds took that option away in 2006. Now we MUST blow long and loud or risk some major fines and penalties.

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Date: 03/15/19 11:57
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: coach

funnelfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> pdt Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Its 10 mph track.  U'd think they could use
> > minimal horn at 3am....
>
> The Feds took that option away in 2006. Now we
> MUST blow long and loud or risk some major fines
> and penalties.

Like SP used to do--short, soft honks in the early am.  No need to wake the entire world....



Date: 03/15/19 12:18
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: PHall

coach Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> funnelfan Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > pdt Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > Its 10 mph track.  U'd think they could use
> > > minimal horn at 3am....
> >
> > The Feds took that option away in 2006. Now we
> > MUST blow long and loud or risk some major
> fines
> > and penalties.
>
> Like SP used to do--short, soft honks in the early
> am.  No need to wake the entire world....

Can you not read? You can't do that anymore. The Feds changed the law. It's not 1974 anymore.



Date: 03/15/19 14:43
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: BoilingMan

I've riden over this line- very slow and LOTS of grade crossings!  I'll bet they heard us continously for 20min!  Not too surprising they're complaining.
SR



Date: 03/15/19 14:50
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: pdt

All I can say is the guys around her do - - o -, but they dont lean on it.  Sometimes just toot it, if its 3am.  Of course, i'm out in the country here, and SJC is the city.
No homeless encampments, only 1 late night bar in town....
DS just told Amtk to look out for cattle on the tracks...haha.

The other things is that there are  SO MANY grade crossings on the lower end of the warm springs.   But WTF...if a horn work me up at 3am, I'd run to the window to watch.
The RR's have no obligation to be quiet, escpecially with our sue happy society.    It isnt like the track has been abandoned for 20 years.  There were what, 4 trains a day, even before the Mission Bay started using it.....



Date: 03/15/19 15:39
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: utwazoo

 I was raised in a house across the street from the SP mainline,  with a semaphore signal that sometimes stopped trains.  90% steam when I was a child and they pounded through there 24/7.  At times when stopped at the signal,  they'd eventually start blowing the whistle for a signal from the nearby interlocking tower.  And I can't recall ever being awakened by those trains.  But when friends stayed over,  they'd jump up in a panic the first time a train came by.   Many years later I'm in South Africa at a little hotel 20 feet from the double track mainline where 4-8-4s blasted by all night.  The first night, I eagerly awaited the thrill of big steam passing in the night.  Never heard a thing.  At least for me, in both cases I seemed to have adapted to the sounds very quickly.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/19 15:40 by utwazoo.



Date: 03/15/19 16:12
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: justalurker66

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> U'd think they could use minimal horn at 3am....

They are using the minimum.



Date: 03/15/19 17:06
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: PHall

Horn usage at 3AM is just the thing some managers like to test crews on.



Date: 03/15/19 18:05
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: Hookdragkick

Mrs. Johnson says she's surprised UP can get away with it... smh. I have no sympathy for those who choose to live near the tracks, or a crossing at that! Lay on it. 



Date: 03/15/19 18:20
Re: Train horns at 3 a.m. Rile San Jose Residents
Author: cchan006

walstib Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It’s the typical “we didn’t sign up for
> this” said one new homeowner vs. “the tracks
> have been there since the 1870s” argument.

Much of the housing along the ROW was built in the last 10 years. Combine that with the housing inflation caused by the tech industry IPO casino, some of the residents didn't have much choice but live near the tracks. I'm not saying they deserve sympathy, the circumstances may be different than other neighborhoods.

Before the recent "PSR" changes, almost all late night/early morning trains ran through Alviso on the ex-SP Coast Line 6-8 miles away. I'm sure Alviso residents got to hear the 2 crossings in their town loud and clear at any time of night... but I don't recall any media coverage of that.

It's kind of funny all the signals were removed along this stretch of track several years ago due to low activity, but it's now a BUSY dark territory.



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