Train Horn Noise

Federal Rail Administration (FRA) guidelines require all trains to sound their horns through at-grade crossings, construction zones, and whenever a trespasser is spotted by the conductor in the railroad right of way. This requirement to blow a horn in the above situations must be followed at all times of the day. We continue to work on options to mitigate noise and its impact on residents. 
  1. General Information
  2. Current Train Noise Status
  3. Opportunities to Reduce Noise

The rail system along the peninsula, including all safety warning devices at crossings, is owned by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCJPB). Passenger and freight service along the corridor are provided by Caltrain and Union Pacific respectively. Caltrain service operates within our city limits from approximately 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and approximately 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekends. Union Pacific service operates from approximately 7:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily.

In our City, there are at-grade crossings at Villa Terrace, E. Bellevue Ave, 1st Ave, 2nd Ave, 3rd Ave, 4th Ave, 5th Ave, 9th Ave, and 25th Ave.  Trains are required to sound their horns at designated distances up to a quarter mile in advance of each at-grade crossing depending on operating speed.

In 2022, the construction of the 25th Avenue Grade Separation Project was completed. The Project modified the rail system from Hayward Park station to Hillsdale Blvd. As a result, the at-grade crossing at 25th Ave. was eliminated, which improved safety and reduced train horn noises.

Improvements at 4th Ave. and 5th Ave. intersecting the railroad tracks are currently in the works in a City and Caltrain joint project. The City and Caltrain received 100% funding to install supplementary safety measures.  Caltrain will upgrade the existing two-quadrant gates to four-quadrant gates with vehicle presence detection.  The City's scope consists of pavement resurfacing, installing ADA-compliant ramps, pedestrian level lights along 5th Avenue, and updates to the traffic markings, including the removal of on-street parking on 5th Avenue for the installation of new bike lanes.  These improvements are a major step towards Train Quiet Zone qualification.  Construction is anticipated to commence in Spring 2023.