Do you live in Arvada or around the RTD G line? The sounds around your home are much different today that many years ago.

Living near the train tracks (G Line) for those that own homes, has now become a nightmare. The Denver Transit Partners (DTP) are now doing full testing of the G line. This means trains are moving up and down the tracks almost every few minutes. Federal Law requires all trains that travel on or adjacent to freight tracks to sound their horns when the train approaches a railroad crossing. This falls under the Federal Train Horn Rule (49 CFR Part 222).

So as a someone who lives in Arvada I am not looking to explain the loud G Line train horns and quiet zones, click this link to find our more from the RTD. What I wanted to know was how the loud train horns has had an impact on those that live around the G Line.

TESTING SOUND LEVELS

I wanted to find a very easy way to show how loud the sounds were coming from the train horns for those living near the G Line. I started with a Dell Latitude E6510 laptop, Blue Yeti USB microphone and some sound level software. Basic tools I know and not what you would call professional testing. But what I did was hook up the microphone and laptop in my SUV and started out. See picture below.

CITY SOUNDS AND TRAIN SOUNDS – HOW DO THEY COMPARE?

Had to make sure my sound testing software was working. So, with engine running I registered about 5489. I then beeped the horn facing into the closed garage door about 5 feet off, for about 3 seconds. Sound levels spiked to the max and got a reading of 32768.

The first thing I wanted to test was just normal everyday sounds, driving around Arvada.

Stopped at the train tracks at Carr and Reno, got lucky crossing guards came out, gates went down and I turned on the sound testing software. Got my first train, sound level spiked at 32768.

Stopped at a light at Balsum and Ralston, about twenty cars went by. My testing software registered that at between 5088 and 7262. I then drove to Fitzmorris Elementary School, sat in the parking lot with engine off. About 878 – 1504.

Headed over to Miller Street and Ridge Rd. Train passing by and you guessed it sound testing software spiked at 32768. Off to find more trains and sounds. Drove up next to a big rig tractor trailer semi-truck. Got on his left side turned on the software and pulled away as he pulled away. This truck was loud! Sound started out at 5181 but as he continued to speed up the sound spiked to 32768.

I then pulled in behind an RTD bus (seemed appropriate) and as it pulled away about 6 feet off my bumper sound level went from 16878 to 32768.

Okay, time to head back home. Full disclosure I do live in the neighborhood, but not near the tracks. Came up to Garrison and Ridge Rd, parked it and waited for the train. My sound level reading with little to no traffic going by was 5201 to 6182.

Garrison and Ridge Rd and here comes the train. By now you know what my sound lever reading was. It was 32768 no kidding.

08/24/2018 Low 5489 to High 32768 – Sitting in car in driveway then beeping car horn – 1:06 PM
08/24/2018 32768 – Carr and Reno – Stopped to go across the tracks – TRAIN PASSING BY – 1:13 PM
08/24/2018 Low 5088 to High 7262 – Stop Light Balsum and Ralston – About 20 cars are going by. 1:18 PM
08/24/2018 Low 878 to High 1504 – Parked at Fitzmorris Elementary School – In the parking lot – 1:28 PM
08/24/2018 32768 – Miller Street and Ridge Rd – TRAIN PASSING BY – 1:38 PM
08/24/2018 Low 5181 to High 32768 – Driving next to a big tractor trailer truck from a green light – 1:51 PM
08/24/02018 Low 16878 to High 32768 – Driving behind an RTD bus pulling away from a green light – 1:56 PM
08/24/2018 Low 5201 to High 6182 – Garrison and Ridge Rd – Parked no traffic waiting on train. 2:01 PM
08/24/2018 32768 – Garrison Street and Ridge Rd – TRAIN PASSING BY – 2:07 PM

ASKING FOR HELP FROM MY NEIGHBORS

One of the things I wanted to do in the article was give those most affected by the loud sounds coming from the train horns a voice. So, I went on NextDoor.com and posted a request for anyone living near the tracks would be willing to leave my laptop running 24/7 with my sound testing software running. Yes, I know this would not make a scientific test, but just looking to prove what’s really going on.

Within a very short time I was contacted by Kim, a wonderful woman living near the tracks at Garrison and Ridge Rd. After a short phone call, she agreed to meet with me that following Saturday and let me run my sound testing software. Grabbed the wife and headed over to Kim’s house. First, I want to say it really makes you wonder how someone like Kim living near the G Line can even function. The train goes by about every 10 to 15 minutes. As we walked out back to the west side of her home a train came by.

THE SOUND WAS DEAFENING

“How do you sleep” I asked. She just gave me that “I don’t” shoulder shrug and look.

“Kim, what if you ever want to sell your home?” I asked.

Kim replied “Forget it, the Real Estate agents in the area know better. No one is going to buy a home near the tracks with this going on.”

Kim was right, it’s been reported that real estate values near the tracks on the G Line have dropped 20%. With home values near average of 440k that’s a big drop in price. On to testing. Kim let me setup the laptop outside under and overhang again on the west side. Just as I started the testing software my wife said “here comes a train” software spiked to 32768. Standing in her yard as the train went by blaring it’s horn we had to hold our hands over our ears. It was really that loud.

My testing software ran for about 48 hours. I had remote access from home back to the laptop and during that time, I checked it and saved the testing data. SEE BELOW.

After looking at my “UN-scientific” data and feedback from my neighbors on NextDoor.com here is what I concluded.

  • Living near the G Line you are subjected to 30 to 32 times the normal level of sounds coming from others in and around your neighborhood.
  • In about a 4-hour time frame you will hear about 32 train horn blasts, all day and every day.
  • You cannot have a conversation outside your home without stopping for the train to go by, you just can’t hear each other.
  • You will not enjoy a quit life. Your dogs and cats are affected by this noise.
  • You will have a harder time selling your house.
  • You will have quieter sleep parked in the parking lot at Fitzmorris Elementary School.

Just My Opinion.

This whole situation is just sad. It feels like RTD and DTP has lied to all of us. Really makes you feel mad to know as tax payers we are paying for crossing guards and train signals crossings and still they insist on sending trains up and down the lines blaring their horns, making life miserable for all who live near the tracks. Why can’t the quite zone start now while we have the crossing guards? I know, I know its Federal law. Here is the link to what RTD posted if you missed it before.

G Line Train Horns And Quiet Zones: What You Need to Know

Just when will this end? No one knows. Our mayor and council members don’t really seem to care.

So, as an Arvada resident and if you live near the tracks, I am sorry you are going through this. Let’s hope it gets fixed soon.

Please read some of the comments from those that live near the tracks, I re-posted them from NextDoor.com. Let’s at least give them a voice.

Please toggle the + below to see the testing data

8/26/2018 3:11:03 PM dB Loudness is 32768**
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I say RTD and DTP lied to all of us at the meeting to discuss it.

NEVER told us it would come by every 2-3min for 20h day. They said every 15min-when you add in the 6 trains it’s about every 2-3min we’ve lived her for 32y and always sit outside in the summer.

We have a beautiful yard and almost every night we listen to music and enjoy our yard, play frisbee, play with the dogs and then eat dinner outside. This noise has changed our life totally. We can do none of the above. We now must be inside and can’t even enjoy our years of hard labor to enjoy our yard.

We always thought we’d grow old here and retire. Now we don’t know what to do. Our realtor told us that property values are down 20% until the quiet zone is implemented. Our whole life has changed, not to mention the lack of sleep. I have two fans on high, a sound machine on high with white noise at the head of the bed and ear plugs. All the windows are closed, and we can still hear the noise muffled.

Just when you think it’s gone to fall back asleep, it comes again. Both my husband and I now anticipate it and can’t sleep. I’ve resorted to ambian, which helps some, but I became addicted to this 10 yrs. ago and got off it and now have no choice but to do this again.

This has COMPLETELY changed our life not to mention quality. We’re forced to reevaluating our future. Not to mention dealing with an addiction again down the road.

I say RTD and DTP lied to all of us at the meeting to discuss it., Name Withheld

Another part that i am concerned about is that there is not a fire station on this side of tracks. First responders are called here quite often and arrive very quickly but that changes with the arrival of the train. I am calling the Fire Commission for more info.

I am calling the Fire Commission, Trish B.

All of the crossings have flaggers, gates, flashing lights and a bell. The government says that you have to sound the train horn before and during the train crossing the road. I don’t know why with all these safety measures the horns could not be silenced during the testing period.

Oh I know the over regulation by the railroad authority (by the way those who make rules live no where near here) can not make an exception to the horn needing to sounded everytime the train goes by. I have no sympathy for some who would go around the flagger, weave through the gates and ignore the flashing lights and gets hit by the train. They may wish to be a Darwin award recipient. Who am I to deny them.

Face it those of us living near the tracks will have to do our best to deal with this, earplugs. White noise generators, having the dog lie on your head while you sleep. Whatever works. Yes this may be considered whining, really don’t care. There are solutions, it’s just that the pinheads who can change this will not do it because there is a rule on the books that says this will not change until all t’s are crossed and all i’s are dotted.

The government says that you have to sound the train horn before and during the train crossing the road., Scott H.

I don’t it’s being understood. Yes-we’ll all benefit from the light rail when it’s finished and there are quiet zones established. (Which could be months) It’s not the daytime horns anyone is having issues with.

When we get woken up at all hours of the night with horns louder than my alarm clock it makes functioning properly with limited sleep every night difficult! I live on the train line not “in the neighborhood.” If anyone has solutions- I’ve tried ear plugs, fans and a sound machine.

That would be greatly appreciated.

When we get woken up at all hours of the night with horns louder than my alarm clock., Jenny C.

I wish I had a solution. I too live on the train line. I’ve been wondering how it will be handled if that poor slob who works nights is so exhausted that he doesn’t see the kid on the bike, or catch the motorcycle in his blind spot.

How many people are getting up in the morning and trying to run on a couple hours of sleep? Granted, the agency requires the horn and its all in the name of safety. I get it.

However, I think there are a lot of folks who are going to have some very frazzled nerves by the time this line is complete. Let’s just hope there are no accidents because of the exhaustion and irritability from all the horns.

I wish I had a solution., Trish C.

Wow seriously. Comparing the train noise to floods and fires.

You must not have to get up at 5:00 am and go to work. Having the trains horn constantly going off from 3:00am to 1:00am. Doing it for our safety with the noise is not the safety issue it is the gates that make us safe.

This has been a process that seems to have no end. In time there will be no horns with the quiet crossings what is the difference now.

This has been a process that seems to have no end., Kim V.

Easy for all you people to comment.

It is a safety issue for those who do not get enough sleep and have to drive and be alert during the day.

When the arms are down there is no possible way to get through them unless one knocks them down and besides the flaggers are there 24/7 so not sure why it is necessary for the horns those hours.

Why it is necessary for the horns those hours?, Joyce B.

John, correct me if I’m wrong but this “testing” phase is just a simulation of what is actually going to be happening for a long time isn’t it?

The A-Line has been active for TWO YEARS and they have not managed to successfully get quiet zones in place. They barely managed to get the flaggers removed.

These trains are going to be running from 4am-12:30am every single day. And during peak times every 15 minutes. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for quiet zones. Again, this is not just for testing period.

Residents should plan on dealing with these horns for a long long time.

Residents should plan on dealing with these horns for a long long time., Jenna C.

When the track is right behind your house and the engineer does not let off the horn between intersections it does get a bit irritating, I do realize it is a fast moving train, but once the front is through the intersection there is no need to keep blowing the horn.

It would also be nice if they did their texting during the day instead of starting at 3am, just saying. 🙂

The engineer does not let off the horn between intersections, Luann C.

Elizabeth, A) you definitely can’t see them from your house as you have what 16 houses and a couple apartment complexes between there. B) yes you may have a little one that keeps you up every hour and I know exactly how that is.

But you need to understand is we have a 2 year and this has greatly affected her sleep at night and ours as well. My wife is also pregnant with number 2 so sleep is very important to her as well.

People like ourselves are only wondering why it needs to start so early and why they even need to have horns going now when you are paying 2-4 guards to stand at each crossing. C) everyone just needs to use a little empathy towards one another.

Everyone just needs to use a little empathy towards one another, Chris J.

The horns are nonsense overkill.

Each crossing has flashing lights on the gates and bells as well.

What sort of “safety” do the horns add? NOTHING.

The horns are nonsense overkill. , Thomas G.

The point many of us have been making is that there are several levels of protection to keep us safe. Although if you are incapable of crossing the railroad tracks using only 3 types of warning devices.

Then you probably deserve what you get. The horns could be minimized with a simple waiver. The simple facts are this testing may go on for an extended period of time , look at the A line. The quiet zones still have to be approved.

Those who are involved in this process couldn’t care less about us and are in no hurry to get this project done. To those that suggest we shut up or move, why don’t you find a new place when I moved hear 20 years ago there a couple of trains a day, no big deal. The number has increased dramatically. No I will not move, yes I will continue to voice my thoughts on how poorly the the government handles anything they are involved in.

The horns could be minimized with a simple waiver., Scott H.