3rd Street Rail – Quiet Zone

IDOT Links

3rd Street Station Improvements http://www.idothsr.org/2010_const/improvements.aspx
3rd St Rail Status

Springfield Rail Improvements Website (Hanson)


3rd Street Rail Improvements Could Lead To Quiet Zone

November 29m, 2016 by Eric Feldman at Fox Illinois

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For years Springfield residents along 3rd street have complained about loud train horns disrupting their daily lives. Now IDOT is considering changes that could bring more peace and quiet. IDOT is looking to install more crossing gates, closing 3rd Street along five side streets, plus other safety improvements. These changes would qualify the city to apply for what’s called a “quiet zone” so trains wouldn’t sound their horns as they passed through.


Safety upgrades qualify Third St. rail corridor for ‘quiet zone’

Nov 28, 2016, TIm Landis, SJR

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The city of Springfield would have to ask the Federal Railroad Administration for approval of a “quiet zone” once the work is completed in 2017. Quiet zone qualifications were uncertain after the city and the Illinois Department of Transportation reached agreement in April to concentrate state and local funding on 10th Street rail consolidation. Under the agreement, the state committed $70.8 million from fiscal years 2018 through 2025 toward relocation of Union Pacific and Amtrak trains to the Norfolk Southern corridor.

[Springfield Mayor Jim] Langfelder said city officials support the Third Street improvements, including the quiet zone, so long as the focus remains on 10th Street.

Crossing upgrades, closings

Bridge and underpass upgrades already have been made along the Third Street line as part of the federal-state high-speed rail project between St. Louis and Chicago. Amtrak service at up to 110 mph is planned on much of the route next year.

Added Third Street improvements presented at the Dec. 8 [2016] public hearing include vehicle and pedestrian gate upgrades at 18 crossings, closing five crossings, updated signals and safety fencing from Stanford Avenue to Sangamon Avenue. “The improvements also would allow the city to qualify for a quiet zone on Third Street,” IDOT spokesman Brian Williamsen said in a statement. “Improvements will include improving grade crossings throughout the corridor.”

The public hearing is required before the city could apply to the Illinois Commerce Commission to close crossings at Union, Jackson, Canedy, Allen and Cedar streets.

Former state lawmaker Bill Edley, who circulated petitions on behalf of the citizen group “Quiet Zone Now,” said in an email he was advised this summer the latest project design would qualify the Third Street corridor. “Of course, there is an application process and federal review process, which the city might have to make adjustments,” Edley said. “The most important issue for me is a good faith effort by the city, county, IDOT to address the train noise problem. I haven’t observed that as yet.”

Horn blast rules

According to Federal Railroad Administration rules, train engineers must sound horns at least 15 seconds and no more than 20 seconds in advance of a public crossing. The rule is one-fourth mile for trains traveling at 60 mph and up. Horns must be sounded in blasts of two long, one short, one long until the engine or lead car is in the crossing. Duration of the blasts is not specified.

Group: City of Springfield wants all upgrade money spent on 10th St. rail consolidation, not 3rd St. tracks

Posted Jul 6, 2015 by Jamie Monks

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A citizens group that’s been lobbying for a train whistle-free zone along the increasingly busy Third Street tracks worries that the city’s focus on consolidating rail traffic to the 10th Street tracks will leave their concerns unaddressed.

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder and other city officials have made no secret of prioritizing 10th Street consolidation over Third Street track improvements.

Bill Edley, organizer of a group called “Quiet Zone Now,” and two other Lincoln Tower residents, held a news conference Monday where they charged that the city is intent on taking the roughly $30 million that’s been appropriated for Third Street high-speed rail improvements and putting that instead toward the long-term effort to consolidate all of Springfield’s rail traffic to 10th Street.

Consolidating rail traffic along 10th Street is a priority for Langfelder, who called Third Street upgrades “a temporary fix.” Langfelder said he worries that if millions of dollars are put into improvements on the Third Street tracks, the will to complete the long-term rail consolidation project will disappear. Instead, he’s pushing for consolidation to be completed more quickly.

“We’re trying to move as much money over to 10th Street as possible,” Langfelder said Monday, adding that he thinks the better use of the money is to put the funds toward the permanent project.

But Edley and the quiet zone group are pushing for the millions in federal funds that have been appropriated for Third Street to go toward that, which will improve safety at at-grade crossings and would allow the city to apply for a quiet-zone designation along the rail corridor that cuts through downtown.

Edley contends that city leaders have been “double dealing” on the rail projects – publicly supporting the short-term Third Street improvements while working to funnel $30 million in federal funds designated for that project toward the long-term 10th Street consolidation. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the group received 5,744 pages of emails, which Edley highlighted at Monday’s news conference to illustrate the efforts to move the Third Street-designated funds to 10th Street.

Edley said he doesn’t think that pursuing the Third Street and 10th Street projects are either-or propositions.

“They can still pursue the 10th Street project,” Edley said of spending the $30 million on the Third Street tracks. “This is not a deal-killer.”

High-speed rail upgrades are ongoing between Chicago and St. Louis, and if crossings were closed and upgraded and safety fencing added along the Third Street tracks through Springfield, maximum train speeds could increase from 25 miles per hour to 40 mph. The city could then apply for a quiet-zone designation that would allow trains to pass through downtown Springfield without using horns.

Edley and fellow Lincoln Tower residents Mary Cay McCabe and John Banks-Brooks say the train noise continues to increase and become more disruptive to their lives along the tracks. Edley passed a petition for the quiet zone designation to people who live and work along the Third Street tracks, garnering 1,100 signatures.


Third Street rail project picking up speed

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Changes to the Third Street rail corridor in Springfield to accommodate faster trains – upgrading underpasses, closing crossings and safety improvements – must be completed in the next two years under federal rules for funding the estimated $26.7 million cost of the project. An update of Third Street work was included with more than $103 million worth of local rail projects in a draft long-term transportation plan for the Springfield area that was released last week. The plan attempts to project local rail, road, public transit, air service and pedestrian needs into 2040. The Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission updates the transportation document every five year

Unlike the longer-term projects, according to planners, much of the rail construction scheduled for 2015 through 2019 has been funded, including on the Third Street corridor.  Illinois Department of Transportation rail manager Francesco Jacobini said. “We plan to start construction sometime late this year or early 2016 at the latest. The early 2017 completion deadline, Jacobini said, is part of high-speed rail improvements between St. Louis and Chicago.

By closing and upgrading crossings and adding safety fencing, maximum train speeds on the Third Street corridor would increase from 25 mph to 40 mph. The changes eventually would allow the city to apply for a “quiet zone,” where train horns no longer would be required.

While work begins on Third Street, long-term plans in Springfield are to consolidate Third Street trains on the 10th Street rail corridor. Construction of the first big piece of 10th Street consolidation, a $20 million underpass on Carpenter Street between Ninth and 11th streets, is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016.

Project manager Jim Moll of Hanson Professional Services in Springfield said design work has been completed and land acquisition has begun for the next underpass at Ash Street. Moll, also a member of the Springfield Rail Improvement Project community advisory group, said work continues on construction funding. “I think there’s a good possibility we could get started this year or next,” Moll said.