For over 15 years Castle Rock residents living near the train tracks running through downtown have put up with dozens of trains honking as they pass intersecting roads day and night. A recent Castle Rock resolution will start the process of quieting the trains.
The town will invest $1.8 million to install new safety gates, signage and other road improvements at the train crossings on Fifth, Second and Third streets, which will allow for the establishment of a quiet zone, where trains are not required to honk at each crossing.
Castle Rock’s council approved construction and maintenance agreements with Union Pacific Railroad on April 19, setting the process in motion to mute the trains.
“I know this is a long overdue project, specifically for downtown and the residents of Craig and Gould Council,” said Councilmember Desiree LaFleur. “I apologize that we have not been able to get this done sooner.”
Castle Rock’s Director of Public Works Dan Sailer said conversations between the town and Union Pacific date back to 2007, but this is the first significant step to successfully achieve a quiet zone.
Many residents shared how disruptive the current situation is to their daily lives, including sleep schedules and quality of life. Castle Rock gets an average of 20 trains per day on either side of Interstate 25.
“People say that you’ll get used to it, but no, you don’t,” said John Delay, a resident of Lewis Street since 1990.
Other public commenters noted that previous councils broke promises to address the noise and thanked the current council for finally moving the project forward.
Under the Federal Railroad Administration’s Train Horn Rule, trains have to sound their horns for 15-20 seconds in a pattern of two long, one short and one long blasts. In order to have a quiet zone, crossings must meet certain safety standards.
For the crossings at Second and Third streets, the existing gates will be upgraded from one to two arms on either side of the tracks. The crossing at Fifth Street will get minor signage improvements and access to the alley north of Fifth Street between the crossing and Perry Street will be closed.
Additionally, the town will be responsible for some sidewalk improvements in conjunction with the new gate installations.
The cost of the improvements is to be split equally between funds contributed by the developers of the Encore project and the town’s Downtown Development Authority fund.
Construction is set to begin this summer and is estimated to take eight months.
“We anticipate that by early next year the quiet zone would potentially be in place,” Sailer said.