Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall provided some information to two residents who expressed their concerns in wanting to get a partial quiet zone implemented at a private crossing near their homes.
Resident Daniel Tremper originally came to the council in January for information, concerned because his family could not sleep at night.
“I was here a couple of months ago talking about the trains and the noise at the [Underwood Road Materials] crossing. I have looked into that [Union Pacific] Railroad requires a public entity to actually apply for the partial quiet zone crossing,” Tremper said. “It’s a private crossing with a gate, so there may be some simple signage and some things to get that partial quiet zone, which would keep the horns from blowing from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. I originally came here for concern of my family and being able to sleep inside the house at night — now, we’re actually trying to sell our house and we’re getting comments from the buyers and we don’t get the follow-up showing. I feel like [the train] is partially preventing it.”
Marshall said the city is unable to do anything about the crossing because it is private and outside the city limits.
“There is not a simple answer, unless residents are willing to work with that business to fund it,” Marshall said. “So there’s a way that you can get a quiet zone in there, but it’s going to cost you some money and it will cost the business some money, so it just depends on if you’ve had that conversation with [Underwood Road Materials].”
Tremper said the train affects a lot of residents around the crossing.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, a quiet zone means trains are directed to cease the routine sounding of their horns when approaching a public railroad crossing. It does not include private crossings.
Another Aledo resident, Coke Smith, said the train noise cost him the sale of his home.
“I hope there’s something you can do to give me the name of who I can talk to to try to get something done because it cost me the sale of my home too — we had our home on the market for a year,” Smith said. “I know it’s not in the city, it is a private entrance, and they lock that [business] down and nobody is there — their hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, but all night long those trains are laying down on it. I understand the need to blow it during the day because a man did get hit 15 years ago, I remember because I lived there, so I understand, it’s just the night.”
Marshall told the residents that it wouldn’t hurt to start having conversations.
“Let me just tell you that an individual is probably not going to trump the railroad, they were great for us to work with. They love Aledo because we actually created a safer environment for them as well, but the challenge here is that it’s a private crossing and it’s not inside the city limits,” Marshall said. “So if you and the business’ partnership are willing to fund that, then they’ll work with you. It never hurts to have that conversation, but you can imagine if all of the [residents at] privately-held rail crossings across the country all went and asked [the railroad] to pay for a quiet zone there? It will not happen.”
The railroad crossing that it’s the middle of the city does have a quiet zone.
“For us, we were more than happy to pay for that quiet zone until we expanded [Farm-to-Market Road] 1187 and automatically created the capacity for a quiet zone that didn’t require additional funding,” Marshall said. “So we were originally raising funds that would create that quiet zone, but because of the configuration we had, we didn’t have to go that route.”
Marshall said she would provide contact information for Tremper and Smith.
According to Union Pacific Railroad Senior Director of Communications and Marketing Kristen South, about 15 to 25 trains go through Aledo daily.
“Aledo is on our east/west line in and out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which is an important part of the Union Pacific franchise,” South said in a previous Weatherford Democrat article.