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Published: Wednesday, 5/9/2007

Holland trains its sights on railroad 'quiet zones'

Holland averages about 95 train passings daily, according to Councilman Brian Summerson. Holland averages about 95 train passings daily, according to Councilman Brian Summerson.

Living in Holland means putting up with trains.

The Lucas County village of 1,300 has two Norfolk Southern crossings - at McCord and Holloway roads - with two sets of tracks.

Holland averages about 95 trains each day, Councilman Brian Summerson said.

Village officials are powerless to do anything about the frequency of trains, but federal rules allow them an option on reducing noise from train whistles, known in the industry as horns.

They can establish "quiet zones" at railroad grade crossings to make life more peaceful, and Holland is in the process of doing so. In those quiet zones, trains are prohibited from sounding their horn for at least a half mile. But there's a catch. Municipalities must compensate for the absence of horns with other safety measures. The measures must meet federal specifications and be installed at the community's expense.

Holland's plan calls for the installation of raised curbing and plastic pylons down the middle of McCord and Holloway in the approach to the crossings. This would prevent impatient motorists from leaving their lane and crossing the tracks while the gates were down.

Holland's application with the Federal Railroad Administration is in the middle of a 60-day comment period.

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