A southeast Gainesville man said he just wants some additional peace and quiet in his neighborhood.

Dr. Don Truitt of Triple “O” International, a dental laboratory and supply company located south of the Gainesville Municipal Building, said he is in the process of organizing a movement to establish gated railroad crossings in Gainesville as “quiet zones.”

Truitt, 63, who said he grew up across the road from his South Taylor Street home, has noticed a change in the way train horns are sounded.

“It’s just ridiculous,” Truitt said, attributing the increase in horn frequency to engineers riding in sound-proofed cabins.

He said it is not only a residential issue, but that even funerals and churches are disrupted by the frequent blaring of the horns.

Federal law requires that a train blow its horn at least 1,600 feet before a crossing. A railroad company can be fined anywhere from $5,000 to $7,500 for failing to sound a horn at the proper times, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. A railroad company can also be fined for sounding a horn more than 25 seconds before a crossing or for sounding it more than a quarter-mile before a crossing.

Joe Leonard, a resident of South Lindsay Street who said he was approached by Truitt last week, said with the railroad running more hours than before, the increase in honking the horns causes a significant disturbance.

“The trains do not honk the horns any less at night,” he said.

Bob Davis, a resident of South Denton Street, said he was also approached by Truitt.

“I told some people about it, because I know they complain about it a lot,” Davis said.

He said one day while walking along South Denton Street, a freight train heading south blew its horn 21 times at three crossings. Davis said that may have been excessive.

Joe Faust, spokesman for the BNSF Railway, which operates the railroad through Gainesville, said in a recent interview that “quiet zones” can be established, but petitioners would have to contact the Federal Railroad Administration.

“They (quiet zones) are catching on due to the high train traffic,” Faust said. “Rail service is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. With suburban sprawl moving close to operating rail lines, whether it’s at 3 a.m. or 3 p.m., we have to sound those horns.”

Faust said the BNSF gladly cooperates with such zones when established.

Truitt said according to his findings half of the major cities in Texas currently have quiet zones.

Truitt may be contacted at this laboratory office at 668-2121.

On the Net:

Federal Railroad Administration: www.fra.dot.gov

Reporter Andy Hogue may be contacted at andyhoguegdr[at]ntin.net

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