Quiet zone coming to SoCal hub

Written by Railway Age Staff
Sprinter Oceanside

Sprinter light rail is one of four passenger services serving Oceanside, Calif.

One of Southern California’s busiest railroad towns will be a whole lot quieter a year from now.

In the works since 2007, coastal Oceanside is installing upgraded technology that will eliminate the blasts of train horns at grade crossings as soon as next spring.

While the project’s early efforts were stymied by a lack of funding, it picked up momentum in 2016 when the city received $5.7 million in county TransNet funding and a grant of $1 million from CalTrans.

Oceanside is San Diego County’s busiest train station outside of downtown San Diego, with the North County Transit District’s Coaster commuter and Sprinter diesel light rail; Metrolink commuter trains, and Amtrak Pacific Surfliner passenger trains serving the Oceanside Transit Center. Frequent freight traffic is operated by BNSF and Watco’s Pacific Sun Railroad.

The city expects to see rail service increase to an average of 90 daily trains by 2020.

Plans now call for sidewalk gates and secondary traffic signals, as planners seek a Federal Railroad Administration exemption for mandatory sounding of train horns at crossings.

Contractor Balfour Beatty Construction recently began work on buried utility lines along the track; construction is slated to begin this month on underground conduits for new communications cabling.

Oceanside is also awaiting delivery of two plug-and-play signal bungalows, to control the system. Construction is expected to be completed in January 2019. Inspections by the FRA and other agencies should be done in time for the quiet zone to be operational by spring.

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