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Commerce City Residents Plead For Relief From Train Horns

COMMERCE CITY, Colo (CBS4) – Residents in one Commerce City neighborhood are fighting for quiet. They say they’re rattled out of bed every night by train horns. And while other intersections have gone quiet, the train horns continue to blow near their homes.

“At 2 o’clock in the morning, at 3 o’clock in the morning, at 4 o’clock in the morning, I mean it’s all the time,” said Tammy Anshutz, a resident who lives near the intersection at 96th and Highway 2 in Commerce city.

She and her neighbors say the horns have always been a problem, but it’s gotten worse over the 12 years since their homes were built.

“It rattles my windows , it rattles my sliding glass door, it rattles my beds, it rattles everything,” said Anshutz’ neighbor, Stephanie Maes.

The residents have been rattling cages at the railroad and the city for years. When they complain they say they get the runaround; the city says contact Burlington Northern Railroad and the railroad says contact the city.

“Nobody wants to take care of it. Nobody want to own up to it,” Anshutz said.

“Nobody will help us and we have not had a full night’s sleep since we’ve moved in,” Maes agrees.

In the meantime, “No Train Horn” signs have gone up at four other Commerce City intersections, silencing the trains and relieving nearby residents. The signs are part of a Quiet Zone program that the city is implementing to improve the quality of life for its citizens. But the signs also add fuel to the fire for Anshutz and her neighbors.

“So what’s wrong with 96? It’s not any different,” she asked CBS4.

A 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigation found that the intersection at 96th and Highway 2 is different. Unlike other intersections, there are two tracks running right next to the highway, which creates major safety concerns.

Commerce City records show there have been nine accidents there in the last 6 years, and one of those accidents was a fatality. The city has already reconstructed the intersection to make it safer.

Engineers say “No Train Horn” signs are not an option, but they say help is on the way.

“In the State of Colorado it will be the first wayside horn system installed,” said Glenn Ellis, Commerce City Projects Manager.

DOCUMENT: More Information On Automated Train Horns

Commerce City is installing an automated horn system at the intersection. The warning horns will sound at the intersection and not from the trains, which should cut down considerably on noise pollution.

“Those residents a quarter of a mile up the road won’t really hear the noise,” Ellis added.

Ellis says the holdup on the project has been negotiations with Burlington Northern Railroad. Because the wayside horn system is the first of its kind in the state, there have been a lot of negotiations to get appropriate language in the agreement between the city and the railroad.

Commerce City officials say the whole system should be installed and running by July of this year. That should give Tammy Anshutz and her neighbors a little peace and quiet.

– Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith

  • Linda

    In 1988, my brother-in-law was hit by a train in Pueblo while trying to drive across an un-gated set of tracks. IF the train had blown it’s whistle, he wouldn’t have tried to cross. By miracle alone, he’s alive. When you bought/rented your home, was the railroad track there? We lived 1 1/2 blocks from the intersection where my brother-in-law was hit. The tracks were there when we moved in & we knew what to expect. After a month or so, we got used to it. I’d MUCH rather hear the train whistles than be awakened by screaming sirens and the cries of children & family members who lost a loved one. I hope the new program works for everyone & that the bureaucratic red tape is cut to a minimum. Best of luck to all…

  • Chris

    You moved in 12 years ago? These tracks have been along that stretch longer than that. Did you not notice the tracks when you were looking at the house? did you think they were there to just add a lil charm to the area? This is ridiculous this story would be like me moving right next to a farm. Then complaining for years the smell of cows and animals is to strong and the city needs to do something. This story kinda reminds me of people who all moved right next to stapleton airport. Then had the nerve to complain about noise from planes. Maybe pay a little attention to where your gonna call home. The city should make the people living there pay for this new horn system if they want it so bad. It’s not the city’s fault or the tax payers fault you moved NEXT to train tracks.

    • Aj Edwards

      Here here! Stories like this just prove that a lot of Americans are stupid.

  • Sanders

    In the story did you see how fast that train went through the intersection without blowing it’s horn? Had to be 40 or 50 mph. For someone not paying attention either in their car or a pedestrian that is distracted, that is an awful lot of tonnage that can sneak up without much warning at all!

    People who move next to railroad tracks, complain about the noise and expect government to “do something about it” really irk me…

  • Teresa

    I would have to agree with the comments from Linda and Chris…you knew the tracks were there when you purchased the house. Have you thought about moving????

  • tercar1

    This reminds me of the people that buy a house near an airport, then complain about the aircraft noise! I say TOO BAD!! These railroad tracks were there many years longer than even Commerce City has been there. You knew you were living across the street from a crossing. Live with it or move!!

  • Marc G.

    I agree with everyone above, however I think that the time of day should be taken into effect as well. At 4 in the morning when it’s pitch black outside the lights of a huge locomotive should be enough to alert people of the on-coming danger.

    I sell train horn kits online, so I understand the reality of people not liking the horns. However, they are fun for consumers and a safety feature for the railroad companies.

    For the users of my horns, I expect them to have fun with the horns but use them in a responsible manner. Just as I would like to see the railroad companies using their horns to provide safety to everyone while also reducing the annoyance factor of those who live by railroad tracks.

    I have a proposal to any residents out there who would like to help push the new safety future forward by offering City Hall $1000 to put towards the new system mentioned in the video.

    I will match anyone’s donations up to a total of $500 to help get the system up and running earlier. That’s just 20 people putting up $25

    Go to my site and call or send me an e-mail

    Marc – Train Horns Delivered

  • Chad

    This is nuts. I agree. You buy a house next to railroad track, be prepared for some noise. If you buy a house next to an airport, be prepared for some noise. I can see a valid complaint if a NEW rail line was put in next to where you lived or a NEW airport was built next to where you lived. The rail line was there. The airport was there. The people complaining shouldn’t have moved there. I also agree that I also get a little bothered when I hear stories like this. C’mon CBS4, tell the whole story. Let the viewers know how long the rail line has been in place there. Ask the people complaining if the rail line was there when they moved in. Ask them if they know what type of transportation rail lines are used for. Railroad track equals train traffic equals noise.

  • John Q.Public

    Come on!..Yoy live in Commerce city! Aren`t you a little more concered about the Gang bangers and illegals?

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