CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) – Spend any time in downtown Clearwater, and you’ll be treated to loud train horns.
At seemingly random times of the day and night, short but very loud freight trains move through the city center and neighborhoods. Business owner Keanan Kintzel has to stop talking on the phone when the train blares its horn.
“It’s going really slow and everybody honk honk honk, it’s like, are you that dumb to not get out of the way of frickin’ freight train?” said Kintzel.
Next door, it’s the same story.
“The horn is the deal and when it’s just clickety clacking across the tracks, its rumbling and it’s loud and everything, but it’s the constant blaring of the horn that is the biggest problem.”
Train horns should soon go silent in downtown Tampa, thanks to a new quiet zone. The noisy train horns disturb condo dwellers and Clearwater city workers, including the guy working to establish the Quiet Zone.
“I’ll be glad to get this off my plate,” said Traffic Operations Manager Paul Bartels. “I’ve been on the telephone when the guy comes through and I can’t get off the telephone easily because of the nature of the call, and so you just have to bear with it.”
The new Quiet Zone will have exceptions.
“The engineer can only blow the horn in a dire emergency like somebody runs out in front of the train or something,” said Bartels.
Look for new signs at intersections, warning of the new Quiet Zone. There are a few hurdles to jump to get it in place. But if all goes according to plan, people won’t have to deal with blaring train horns anymore as soon as sometime this fall.
The cost is $374,000, paid up front to CSX railroad. The city plans to apply for reimbursement from the Florida Department of Transportation.