City wants to share anger over railroad noise with UP

The Jefferson streets committee wants to share some of the heat for noisy railroad crossings with the source of the annoyance – Union Pacific railroad.

The committee asked city staff to find a telephone number or email address residents can use to report excessive noise directly to UP.

The council last March considered closing the Wilson crossing to reduce noise, but residents who attended the meeting were against that for a variety of reasons. The council then thought discussion of quiet zones was finished.

Resident Marieta Coil raised the subject of quiet zones again at the Aug. 8 council meeting, and mayor pro tem Harry Ahrenholtz asked the streets committee to open discussion again. Coil did not attend the Aug. 15 committee meeting.

However, Tori Riley of GCNO was at the meeting and told of hearing almost continuous horns, 15 in all, at 4:35 am Saturday. “Who were those engineers trying to warn? I can see why the north side residents are annoyed by it,” Riley said.

Council member Larry Teeples had also noticed the train horns Saturday morning. He explained that according to UP, engineers have discretion in how long they sound their horns. City engineer Jim Leiding said the rules are vague and refer to “short” and “long” sounds, letting the engineer decide what “short” and “long” mean.

City clerk Diane Kennedy said UP is usually “not cooperative” with complaints. City engineer Jim Leiding agreed, but said “I think filing complaints won’t hurt. At least it would make them aware of it.”

“At least it would give residents a place to vent their frustration,” building/zoning officer Nick Sorensen said.


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