Since their installation in June 2019, Edmonds’ two wayside crossing horns have been beset with a series of problems including coordinating operations with BNSF, electrical issues and even a suspected lightning strike.
Aimed at enhancing quiet zones in Edmonds, the horns were envisioned as a way to warn motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and others about approaching trains, while limiting unnecessary noise pollution leaking into adjacent residential and commercial areas by focusing the warning signal where it is needed. Two warning horn systems were installed at the Main and Dayton Street at-grade railroad crossings. The work was done by Texas-based Quiet Zone Technologies, at a total project cost of $421,000.
The latest in this series of problems began in December 2023 involving what city officials describe as “intermittent electrical failure” of the Dayton Street horns caused by the heavy December rains. City crews worked to dry out and repair the system, and while these measures initially allowed the wayside horns to return to operation, continuing heavy rains are causing intermittent failures and the system has been taken offline.
City electrical crews are again assessing the problem hoping to make a permanent fix. In the event they cannot, the city is also assembling leads on outside contractors with experience with wayside crossing horn systems. Compounding the problem is that in 2022 the original vendor – Quiet Zone Technologies – informed the city that it was shutting down its wayside horn operations. Its website returns a 404 error.
The wayside horn system will remain offline while this work progresses and until a solution is found, trains will again sound onboard horns as they pass through Edmonds.
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel