Silence is Golden - DelMar Quiet Zone

City Council draft Resolution and Staff Report

'CITY COUNCIL' staff report and proposed resolution March 28, 2011..."Authorize the Installation of Wayside Horns and Other Devices at the Railroad Crossing on Coast Boulevard using Private Funding with the Goal of Lowering Noise from Railroad Train Operations. Download The Report Here."

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We are available to meet with any community members interested in the project. Please feel free to fill the contact form below if you have any questions.

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Letters of Objection and Responses

Site under construction: two letters of objection have arrived. We DO NOT HAVE permission to post letters to the City of Del Mar, CA. Please contact the Del Mar City Clerk to secure a copy. Essentially, both letters raised safety and liability concerns. The quiet zone solution is in conformity with the Federal Railroad Act (FRA). Some believe installation of a horn in the intersection will increase safety. A premise of the investigatory and design process has been to assure that safety always trumps nuisance!make your donation...

The Wayside Horn Project: A Quieter Del Mar Is Within Reach!

The Del Mar Quiet Zone Committee, a volunteer group of Del Mar residents, has launched a community campaign to raise $378,317 for the construction of a wayside horn at the railroad intersection at Coast Boulevard. This project will greatly reduce the train horn noise as trains pass through Del Mar. Many of us witnessed the live test in Del Mar of an actual wayside horn in Spring 2010, and it really makes a difference! To learn more about the benefits of the wayside horn, and to see the impact on our community and your home, keep reading!

Help us reach our goal!


Find out how you can make a donation to the Wayside Horn Project.

There are three available options for contributing to the Wayside Horn Project, allowing you to choose the option that best meets your individual circumstances and preferences. The options are outlined below, including potential tax considerations, refundability, and potential issues if you are giving through a private foundation or donor-advised fund.

Questions? Carolyn Kling, president of the Del Mar Foundation, is happy to discuss these options with you. Reach her by phone at 619 417-1017.

1. Sign a Wayside Horn Pledge Form: You can pledge an amount to be paid when the Del Mar Quiet Zone Committee informs you that the it has sufficient donations and pledges to fully fund the project. Note: This pledge is non-binding and can be withdrawn at any time without penalty or recourse. Though we encourage you to donate now to the City or the Del Mar Foundation, this option is available for those who prefer to donate only when the project is certain to be funded, especially when refundability through the City is not a viable option because you are giving through a private foundation or donor-advised fund.

For your consideration, please click here to download the Wayside Horn Pledge Form. DMQZ Pledge Form.pdf

2. Donate to the City of Del Mar: You can make a tax-deductible donation of $250 or more directly to the City of Del Mar Wayside Horn Account, a special account set up by the City to hold funds until the project has been fully funded. If the project does not fully fund in the amount of $378,317 by June 30, 2012, your contribution to the project will be refunded to you in full. NOTE: The year you are eligible to take a tax deduction may be an issue, since your contribution may not be considered a qualifying donation until it becomes nonrefundable. Also, a private foundation or a donor-advised fund may not be able to make a refundable contribution. Please seek advice from your tax advisor, foundation, or fund as to how these issues may affect you.

Click here to download the City of Del Mar donation form.
Wayside Horn Construction Donation -City of Del Mar.pdf

3. Donate to the Del Mar Foundation : You can make your donation in any amount through the Del Mar Foundation. Note: Because the Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community foundation, donations are tax-deductible when made, and cannot be refunded. In the event the wayside horn project is not fully funded, the Del Mar Foundation will confer with you and direct your donation to another worthy community project in accordance with your preferences.

Click here to download the Del Mar Foundation Donor Disclosure form. DMF Wayside Horn-Donor Disclosure Form.pdf


What is a directional horn and how can it help Del Mar?

Federal regulations require that train engineers sound their horn when they are a ¼ mile from the Coast Blvd crossing, to ensure that a horn at least 92 decibels may be heard at a point on the roadway 100 feet from the center of the closest track. So train engineers blast their horns much louder from a distance to comply with the regulation.

Using a traditional horn, meeting these requirements creates a significant noise nuisance to Del Mar residents and visitors. At the Coast Blvd crossing, two directional / wayside horns could be installed to greatly reduce the noise nuisance on the Del Mar Community.

The two noise footprints below depict the area impacted by the sound of the train horn and AHS™ respectively. The comparison of the train horn and AHS™ shows a dramatic difference between the areas that are impacted at specific decibel levels. By examining the 80 decibel contour on the two footprints it can be seen that the area impacted by the AHS™ is a fraction of the size of the 80 decibel contour produced by the train horn.

See the difference the directional horn would make for YOUR house

Before The Horn - Red area = 90 dBs+ / Blue area = 80-90 dBs

After The Horn - Red area = 90 dBs+ / Blue area = 80-90 dBs

Let's discuss what the automated train horn is and how it can help

What is an Automated Horn System™?

The Automated Horn System (AHS™) is a wayside horn system activated by the railroad crossing warning system. The AHS is mounted at the crossing, rather than on the locomotive, to deliver a more consistent audible warning to motorists and pedestrians while eliminating noise pollution in neighborhoods for more than one-half (1/2) mile along the rail corridor. The Federal Railroad Administration Train Horn Rule has defined the wayside horn as a one-for-one substitute for the train horn.

Sound Comparison of a Train Horn vs. the AHS™

Locomotive engineers are required by the new FRA train horn rule to begin sounding the locomotive horn at a minimum of 15 seconds prior to the train’s arrival at the grade crossing. They are also required to continue to sound the horn until the train arrives at the crossing.

If the train horn is to be an effective warning device for the motorist, it must provide a sound level capable of initiating a response from the driver when the train is approaching the crossing. Unfortunately the sound level required to achieve that response and the location of the train relative to the crossing creates a significant noise impact on the community.

A Proven Technology

The AHS™ is the only proven innovative railroad signaling device that significantly improves safety for motorists and pedestrians at railroad-highway grade crossings while dramatically reducing the amount of noise pollution created by train horns along rail corridors in populated areas.

AHS™ is designed to sound like a train horn. The sound files in the Automated Horn System™ were digitally recorded from an actual locomotive horn. Upon receipt of the signal from the railroad’s crossing warning system, AHS™ mimics the train horn warning by cycling through the standard railroad whistle pattern until the train reaches the crossing. Once the train enters the crossing, the AHS™ ceases to sound its warning. A Universal Quiet Zone Indicator (UQZI) notifies the locomotive engineer that the AHS™ is functioning properly. When the locomotive engineer sees that the UQZI flashing, the routine sounding of the train horn is not required. If however, the engineer detects an unsafe condition at the crossing sounding of the train horn will be required. Coordination with the railroad operating company is essential since the AHS™ is directly connected to the railroad’s crossing warning system. Additionally, the railroad operating company must issue instructions to their train crews regarding the sounding or non-sounding of the train’s horn.