Train Horn Noise

For years, the City of Vancouver has responded to citizen concerns about train horn noise. The City has worked with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) to investigate the feasibility of forming Train Horn Quiet Zones. A ‘quiet zone’ is a railroad grade crossing at which trains are prohibited from sounding their horns in order to decrease the noise level for nearby residential communities. This is aimed at the routine horn blasts that are required by FRA at public crossings. The train horns can be silenced only when other safety measures compensate for the absence of the horns.

Three areas identified and considered for possible quiet zone improvements.

  • East Vancouver – this includes Southeast 139th, 147th and 164th avenues railroad crossings
  • Downtown Vancouver – this includes Jefferson, 8th and 11th streets railroad crossings
  • Central Vancouver – this includes Beach Drive and Chelsea Avenue railroad crossings

Click on the video below to view the inauguration of the East Vancouver Train Horn Quiet Zone:

Typically, the City does not have adequate funding for implementation of such quiet zones. As a result, the City has concentrated on working with citizens to identify and develop fair methods to share the cost among those who would benefit from a quiet zone. One such method is a Local Improvement District. Click here to learn more about what a Local Improvement District is, what it is not and how it works. Additional information about train horn quiet zones can also be found through the web links on the left.

Contact Information

Federal Railroad Administration
Chris Adams
Region 8 Grade Crossing Manager

Burlington Northern Santa Fe
Richard Wagner
Manager of Public Projects
Quiet zone information/implementation

Burlington Northern Sante Fe - Vancouver Division
Steven Matzdorff, Terminal Manager
Local train concerns/complaints

City of Vancouver
Brian Carlson
Public Works Director

Daniel S. Swensen, P.E.
Engineering & Construction Services Manager

Brent Boger
Assistant City Attorney III