South Elgin may seek a halt to train horn blasts in town
By Janelle Walker For Sun-Times Media October 9, 2013 4:00PM
The State Street crossing is one in South Elgin where village officials want train horns to be quieted. | Janelle Walker~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 11, 2013 12:01PM
SOUTH ELGIN — The village will look into how it can make itself a “quiet zone” by reducing the number of train horns blasting through the town.
Steve Super, director of community development, asked for direction this week from the board of trustees on whether the village wants to quiet the train horns in South Elgin, and whether to spend $7,500 to find out if the village would be eligible to become a quiet zone.
Trustees told him to go ahead and investigate the issue and report back later.
A resident approached the board earlier this year and asked if quiet zones were something South Elgin could consider, Super said.
South Elgin appears to be eligible to create those zones, but the process has several steps; and how long it would take to stop trains from sounding their horns at crossings in the village is uncertain.
Currently, train engineers sound the horns at six local crossings, either in the village or in Kane County at the South Elgin borders — at Center Drive, Plum, State and Mill streets, and at Robertson Road and a private crossing on the north end of the village.
The Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Department of Transportation, and the Union Pacific Railroad all would need to be informed of South Elgin’s intent, Super said.
It is up to Union Pacific to investigate all of the crossings to see if the train warnings are not necessary, but that cost is paid by the municipality asking for the change — leading for the need for $7,500 to pay for the study, he said.
Some road and pedestrian crossing improvements would have to be made and new signage added.
To become horn-free, the village also might again need to address that private crossing on Robertson Road.
Union Pacific indicated several years ago that it wanted to close the private crossing. Robertson Road itself does not actually extend to five homes on the other side of that crossing. The residents there never agreed on how they want the problem solved either, officials said.
But without some kind of railroad crossing or without extending Robertson Road, those houses would be completely cut off, Super said.