Whistleblower: Downtown Fargo resident says train horn Quiet Zone isn’t very quiet

No Train Horn sign in downtown Fargo
No Train Horn sign in downtown Fargo(KVLY)
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 6:45 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A downtown Fargo woman says for the past three years she’s been woken up in the middle of the night because of noisy trains, despite living in what’s called a ‘Quite Zone’.

Kathy Cummings says, ‘Can’t believe the horn last night! I was so loud!’ is common greeting among her and her neighbors living off of Broadway near the Empire Tavern.

“I love it downtown... then there are some bad things about living downtown,” said Cummings, “The train is one of them.”

The Quiet Zone applies to four intersections from Broadway to University, but less than .25 mile down the tracks, the quiet zone ends at the intersection on 7th Ave near Fargo Brewing Company.

BNSF officials say their trains are required to blow their horns before crossing intersections. At night when there is less downtown traffic noise and temps get colder, the sound of a train whistle can travel further.

“I expect to hear the train... I don’t expect to hear the whistle blowing all night.,” said Cummings.

As for the ‘No Train Horn’ signs in the quiet zone, officials said the zones were created to mitigate train horns, not eliminate them.

”You know there is that sign that says ‘No Horn’, but there is...all the time...always has been,” Cummings explained.

City engineers said they are in the process of expanding the quiet zone further west, covering that 7th Ave. intersection. The reason: to quiet the train horns as more residential buildings go up in the area. Officials said they hope the project will be completed by the end of 2022.

If not, Cummings said the signs should be taken down, as she says, they can be deceiving.

“They blow that horn SO loud at night... and it will be all night long.” Cummings explained.

In the past year alone, there have been at least six train crashes in the valley, with two of those ending in fatalities.

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