Wayside Horn System

Wayside Horn System Will Reduce Train Noise in Old Town
Posted on 06/08/2018
Train in Lenexa Old Town

With more than 1,200 residences and businesses within a half-mile radius of the Old Town Lenexa railroad crossings, the need for noise reduction is critical. BNSF Railroad has two crossings in the area. The train tracks are adjacent to Santa Fe Trail Drive, with crossings at Pflumm Road and Noland Road.

To address the noise issue, the Lenexa City Council recently approved $350,000 to install a wayside horn system in Old Town. 

A wayside horn is a stationary horn mounted at a railroad crossing, rather than on a locomotive. The wayside horn system warns motorists by projecting sound down the roadway instead of down the track, eliminating noise pollution in neighborhoods. As a train approaches the area, the system is automatically initiated. The wayside horn mimics a train horn for cars on the street nearby until the train reaches the crossing. Once the train has entered the crossing, the wayside horn stops sounding. This dramatically reduces the amount of noise pollution generated by locomotive horns.

You can see the comparison between the sound levels of a train horn and the wayside horn system in these graphics.

In early May, residents and business owners joined the City Council in Old Town to hear a test of the wayside horn system. Feedback from the test was overwhelmingly positive and with funding now in place, we are moving forward with implementing the wayside horn system. 

We are working with BNSF Railroad on the steps necessary to install the system. Similar projects in other communities have taken in excess of a year to implement. 

Previously, creating a Quiet Zone in the area had been considered. This would have cost more than $2 million. Based on the test and public feedback, the wayside horn system would reduce noise to an acceptable level at a much lower cost than installation of a Quiet Zone.

Published on June 8, 2018