G Line Frequently Asked Questions / Quiet Zones

Updated April 17, 2019

What is a quiet zone?

  • Quiet zones are areas along a railroad segment where train operators don’t have to sound their train horns at crossings on a routine basis.
  • Quiet zones are usually requested by local communities to lessen the impact of repeated train-horn noise in neighborhoods.
  • Train operators maintain the discretion to use train horns under circumstances requiring additional safety precautions.

What circumstances require train operators to sound their horn while traveling through a quiet zone?

  • Train operators maintain the discretion to use train horns under circumstances requiring additional safety precautions.
  • If there is an issue with the timing of a crossing gate.
  • When workers are on or near the tracks.
  • When pedestrian or vehicle traffic could affect train travel through a crossing.
  • Any time it is believed that an emergency situation exists or could exist.
  • When a train uses automatic train control (ATC) instead of positive train control (PTC).

When will quiet zones take effect?

  • Quiet zones will be in effect along the entirety of the G Line corridor on April 26, 2019, when the line opens for passenger service.
  • Starting on that date, commuter rail and freight trains traveling within the established quiet zone area are not required to sound horns at each of the G Line’s 16 at-grade crossings.

Where are quiet zones located?

  • Quiet zones will be implemented along the entire G Line rail alignment, in the City and County of Denver, Adams County, Wheat Ridge and Arvada.
  • Quiet zones have been made possible through close coordination and partnership between RTD, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Jefferson County, Adams County, Wheat Ridge, Arvada, RTD’s commuter rail operator Denver Transit Partners (DTP), and Union Pacific and BNSF railroads.

Do quiet zones apply to freight railroads?

  • When quiet zones are established, they also apply to freight railroads that operate in the corridor.
  • Starting on April 26, Union Pacific and BNSF Railway freight trains traveling within established quiet zones are not required to routinely sound horns at each at-grade crossing.
  • The same conditions that allow commuter rail operators to sound train horns are reasons freight trains may blow train horns as an added safety measure.

What can be expected once a quiet zone has been implemented?

  • Train operators maintain the discretion to use train horns under circumstances requiring additional safety precautions.
  • Gates, lights and bells will continue to activate and sound at crossings as a warning to car and pedestrian traffic at the crossings.
  • Gate attendants may be present at crossings at any time as an added safety precaution, such as when routine maintenance or repairs occur.
  • Although train horns largely will cease when quiet zones go into effect, RTD reminds the public to always follow safety signage and obey warning devices, such as flashing red lights.

Why are gate attendants still present at the crossings?

  • The at-grade crossings are being field verified by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Once this verification is complete, the gate-attendant removal process will begin.
  • The presence of gate attendants does not mean the crossings are unsafe or that a safety concern exists.
  • In the future, gate attendants may be present at crossings at any time as an added safety precaution, such as when routine maintenance or repairs occur.