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Quiet Zone Information

Browse Quiet Zone Information


Locomotive horns enhance safety at highway-rail crossings by warning of approaching trains. The Federal Railroad Administration requires horns be sounded where trains approach public grade crossings. An exception is where a public authority has created a valid “quiet zone.”

The rule was published in the Federal Register April 27, 2005, Volume 70, No. 80, beginning on page 21,888.  

Learn more about the locomotive horn rule

Community request to establish a new quiet zone

All requirements of the FRA rule must be met to establish a new quiet zone, including submitting a written notification to initiate the process. Proposed quiet zones involving NS public grade crossings should be submitted to:

Cayela Wimberly
Norfolk Southern Corporation
Grade Crossing Engineering Director
650 West Peachtree Street, NW
Box 41
Atlanta, GA 30308

To implement safety enhancements in compliance with Part 222 involving active warning devices at crossings, contact the NS Communications & Signal Department. Upgrades will be performed under NS’ direction. The municipality will cover costs of installation and maintenance.

For more info:

Kurt Young
Administrator Highway Grade Crossings
Norfolk Southern Corporation
650 West Peachtree Street, NW
Box 41
Atlanta, GA 30308

A $5,400 quiet zone administrative handling fee applies. Requesting parties will be responsible for payment before completion of NS’ review.

Costs of quiet zone safety measures

NS’ primary concern at rail-highway grade crossings is safety. The company will assist communities as necessary, but the responsible public authority must fully comply with federal rules. Public authorities pay for preliminary engineering, construction, maintenance, and replacement of active warning devices or their components installed at crossings to meet quiet zone standards. Public authorities must enter into a contract guaranteeing reimbursement to the railroad 30 days after railroad work is completed. Costs to install safety measures vary. Examples include:

Constant Warning Time Two-Quadrant Gate System - $300,000 to $400,000

Four-Quadrant Gate Systems - $300,000 to $500,000+

Basic Active Warning System including flashing lights and gates, constant warning time, power out indicator, and cabin - $185,000 to $400,000

Basic Interconnect - $5,000 to $15,000+

Annual Maintenance - $4,000 to $10,000