BRYAN, Texas - The City of Bryan tested a special horn Wednesday as part of its proposal for railroad quiet zones
This comes after complaints from residents and the potential impacts the noise could have on future development.
Trains thundering through downtown Bryan are nothing new with several sets of tracks slicing the landscape.
"In the residences that we currently own and lease, we have people move out every year because of the train horn," said Chris Lawrence with BCS Modern.
That's one of the reasons Bryan tested the automatic wayside horn. At least two horns would be mounted on a pole above the crossing near Main and Pease streets if the project becomes a reality.
"You still have the same safety effect of having the train horn, just the sound footprint for the community is far smaller," said Gary Schatz, the transportation engineer and consultant for Bryan.
The wayside horns are unique in that they are unidirectional. This means each horn only blows in one direction.
"It reduces that sound cone drastically," said Tim Oster with CTC Incorporated, the company behind the wayside horns.
With the horns only blowing in single directions, the noise will be reduced in surrounding areas. Normal train horns distribute their sound over a larger area.
The wayside horns would only be installed at the crossing near Main and Pease streets because it's in an industrial area further away from homes.
The potential quiet zones near homes and businesses would leave some crossings without any sound at all. That's because trains would not be permitted to sound their horns and the wayside horns would still create too much noise. That's where additional safety features would come in.
"We're looking at what's called 'quad gates,' so there's two gates on the approach, there's two gates on the departure that close the crossing," said Schatz.
Other crossings could see traffic islands and some could be closed.
The city will conduct more traffic, safety and engineering studies before more official plans and costs can be determined.