The City of Bloomington established a train horn quiet zone for all trains that use the Union Pacific Railroad/Amtrak line that runs north and south through Bloomington. The Quiet Zone began on November 20, 2018.
The Illinois High-Speed Rail project paid for safety improvements at the three Union Pacific Railroad crossings so that high-speed Amtrak trains can use them. These safety improvements also made it possible for the City to establish a quiet zone. The quiet zone includes three public, at-grade crossings:
1. Union Pacific Railroad at Washington Street (furthest east)
2. Union Pacific Railroad at Miller Street
3. Union Pacific Railroad at Six Points Road
In a quiet zone, train operators for all train types do not routinely use a train horn at each crossing. However, operators must use a train horn if a vehicle or pedestrian is present on the tracks, if a pedestrian is near the train crossing, if there is construction on the tracks, or if any other type of emergency situation occurs.
Since Amtrak does not use the Norfolk Southern Railroad, which runs east and west through Bloomington, the Illinois High-Speed Rail Project did not pay for the necessary safety improvements to establish a quiet zone along the corridor. City staff estimates that, on average, safety upgrades would be over $400,000 per crossing, which is why the City is not pursuing a quiet zone for Norfolk Southern Railroad crossings at this time.
Even with safety improvements in place, rail safety is important. Per Operation Lifesaver, in Illinois last year, there were 120 incidents at public at-grade crossings in which 22 people lost their lives. Paying attention and obeying posted signs and signals can help prevent needless deaths of family, friends, and loved ones. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about train and rail safety and make it clear that they are never to play near the tracks or walk across tracks except at designated crossings.
- Railroad tracks, trestles, yards, and equipment are private property. Walking or playing on them is not only dangerous, it's illegal. Trespassers can be arrested and fined.
- Anyone crossing the tracks should turn off electronic devices including cell phones and music players. Headphones or earbuds should be removed to ensure focus is on any trains that may be approaching.
- You must stop when signals begin to flash. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles should not proceed until warning lights stop flashing.
- Always expect a train. Trains can run on any track, at any time, in either direction. Look both ways before crossing any track and always observe warning signals.
- Don’t be tempted to try to beat a train. An approaching train may be closer and traveling faster than it appears.
- Railroads in Bloomington are patrolled by the Union Pacific Police, Bloomington Police Department, and the McLean County Sheriff. If you see anyone on the tracks, call 911.
For more safety tips, visit the Operation Lifesaver website at www.oli.orgPublic Outreach & Additional Information