Houston Area Train Quiet Zones

Anyone live near one of those train quiet zones? Which one and how effective is it?

I don’t, but we have one in Kingwood. I think those quiet zones can be frightening. I prefer to hear the train.

Unless it is in your backyard.

Depending on how close I guess you are right, however, if I am driving, I want to hear that Horn.

I live about 10-12 blocks from the Holmes Road train tracks, so not exactly in my back yard. It’s not a quiet zone, but more the opposite, they lay on the horns continuously for several minutes at a time. We can hear the horns clearly inside the house.

With all that said, 99% of the time I just don’t even hear it. It’s audible but my brain doesn’t acknowledge it. Kinda like living near an airport.

I grew up directly in the flight path of one of the Hobby Airport runways. Visitors would always ask how we deal with all the jet engine noise, to which we’d answer, “what noise?”

Now I’m curious how different that is when the train is right in your back yard. Does your brain still shut out the noise, or is it so loud that it’s unavoidable?

I used to live in Bellaire, very close to the UPRR Terminal Subdivision. This is a busy section of railroad (carrying not only UP traffic, but also KCS, FerroMex and Amtrak). It is a quiet zone in that the trains normally don’t use their horns, but you can still hear engines rumbling, wheels squealing, empty boxcars clattering, etc. I didn’t mind these noises, but but it could be disruptive to people who haven’t lived close to busy railroad tracks before and aren’t used to it.

As far as the horn: quiet zones aren’t always “quiet.” If there are maintenance workers reballasting the track or if there is a vehicle blocking the crossing ahead or some other hazard, engineers are still required to use the horn. This did happen on occasion. One time UP had crews doing maintenance on the section by my house for over a week and every train that passed by sounded the horn, but thankfully only during the daytime. I only recall hearing the horn once or twice at night in the five years I lived there, and I assume that was just to tell a car sitting on the tracks at Bellaire or Bissonnet to get out of the way.

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