Trains in Hudson

Hudson has one railroad line running through the City with two railroad crossings - one at Stow Road and one at Hines Hill Road. Trains on that line are operated by Norfolk Southern Railway. According to the Federal Rail Administration data, there are approximately 40 trains a day passing through Hudson, as of the 2022.08.09 audit. Prior to that, in 2020, there were 60 trains a day. 

Who Regulates Trains in Hudson?

The Federal Government, through the Federal Rail Administration, regulates all trains throughout the United States. Local and State governments have no jurisdiction over the number of trains, the train schedules, train speeds, or what materials the trains carry. That is solely in the hands of the Federal Rail Administration and the Federal Government. Due to terrorist issues, they do not provide the state or local officials with information about any trains carrying hazardous materials.  

Norfolk Southern Railway

Norfolk Southern Railway is the company that operates the trains running through Hudson. According to its website, it operates approximately 19,300 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern is a major transporter of industrial products, including agriculture, forest and consumer products, chemicals, and metals and construction materials. 

Railroad Whistle Rules and Regulations

U.S. railroad are under the jurisdiction of the federal government, and use of train whistles is regulated through the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).   Train operators do not arbitrarily use train horns at a whim. Sounding of the locomotive horn with two long blasts, one short blast, followed by one long blast is required when approach ALL public highway rail grade crossings. Other circumstances also require train operators to use their horn, including a vehicle, person or animal on the track.

  • Under the Train Horn Rule  (49 CFR Part 222), locomotive engineers must begin to sound train horns at least 15 seconds, and no more than 20 seconds, in advance of all public grade crossings. If a train is traveling faster than 60 mph, engineers will not sound the horn until it is within ¼ mile of the crossing, even if the advance warning is less than 15 seconds.
  • Train horns must be sounded in a standardized pattern of 2 long, 1 short and 1 long blasts. The pattern must be repeated or prolonged until the lead locomotive or lead cab car occupies the grade crossing. The rule does not stipulate the durations of long and short blasts.
  • The maximum volume level for the train horn is 110 decibels which is a new requirement. The minimum sound level remains 96 decibels.

Quiet Zones

In a quiet zone, railroads have been directed to cease the routine sounding their horns when approaching public highway-rail grade crossings. Train horns may still be used in emergency situations or to comply with other Federal regulations or railroad operating rules.  Localities desiring to establish a quiet zone are first required to mitigate the increased risk caused by the absence of a horn. 

Hudson is in the process of establishing Quiet Zones for both the Stow Road and Hines Hill Road railroad crossings.

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