A tremendous amount of activity, hard work and energy has been expended in Benson in an effort to silence the train horns at the three crossings along Fourth Street. Our Economic Development Group is leading the effort to establish a Quiet Zone so the trains would only use horns if someone or something is on the tracks in front of the train. Petitions have been signed, supporting letters gathered and turned over to City Council, meetings have been held with Union Pacific, the Federal Railroad Administration and other integral parties in an effort to make the Quiet Zone a reality.
There are cities and towns all across America that have Quiet Zones and studies have shown that, from a safety standpoint, Quiet Zones are safer than standard crossings with gates and horns. Other studies have shown that train horns easily reach as high as 130-140 decibels or about 1 ½ times the safe level set by the federal government. Any sound at the level of the train horns is considered noise pollution and should be avoided to prevent hearing loss.
It has been said “if it wasn’t for the trains, we wouldn’t be here.” That is true. However, if it weren’t for the Volcanoes, Hawaii would not be there, but there is no doubt they would be happier if the volcanoes would stop spewing lava and damaging their property. We can love the trains, appreciate the trains and keep the trains. We can do that quietly and people will have a better life.
I have experienced first hand the loss of business in Benson as a result of the train horns. It happens every day and it costs our businesses and hence our community and its citizens. Let’s all contact our council members and show our support for this worthy and very important establishment of a Quiet Zone in Benson.
Elton Bowman Benson