CALDWELL -- A piece of Caldwell's history is causing concern for some living and working downtown.

The sound of the train horn is too loud for several businesses owners who are now pushing for a quiet zone.

That designation would mean other safety measures would replace the warning noise at crossings.

There are six railroad crossings in town included in the proposed quiet zone.

Right now, crossings have a gate and a flashing light, and trains are mandated to blow their horn four times as they approach.

It's a sound that some in Caldwell don't want to hear anymore.

The horns last at least 15 seconds at each crossing. Two long, one short and another long noise -- at about 100 decibels -- over and over each day and night.

For some working a block away in Caldwell's downtown, it's simply too loud.

I cover my ears, it hurts, it s real shrill, and I counted one time 27 honks to get through Caldwell, said Bob Carpenter, owner of Carpenters Screen Printing.

Carpenter is part of a team working to revitalize the downtown and says bringing down the noise would bring in more business.

It's a piece of the puzzle to a great a new generation of opportunity, said Carpenter.

Danielle Kaufman owns a daycare nearby and agrees - it s a concern.

They re really loud, some louder than others, but it seems like it's always at nap time, said Kaufman.

The complaints have pushed the city to Caldwell to consider a quiet zone downtown.

The train coming westbound to blow the horn at Linden and wouldn't have to blow it again through the fairgrounds, said Caldwell assistant city engineer Robb MacDonald.

The proposed quiet zone stretches about a mile and a half and would include six railroad crossings where trains would no longer blow their horns.

Instead, there would be extra gates or medians to prevent people from getting through when a train is coming.

The biggest concern is safety, we don't want to implement something that's going to be dangerous for citizens, pedestrians, so we're extremely concerned for safety, said MacDonald.

MacDonald says the change would benefit all citizens and improve the downtown experience.

But others view the sound differently.

I think that's a part of these little towns, I wish the depot was open, I wish it stopped here, said Duane Seidenstucker, owner of D&J Enterprises.

Seidenstucker is one of several business owners we talked with who actually enjoys the character the train brings to Caldwell. And doesn't mind the noise that comes with it.

The trains were here before I was, it doesn't bother me a bit, I love the trains, he said.

If this proposal does goes through, Caldwell would be the first city in Idaho with a quiet zone.

We also checked with Union Pacific. They said they are aware of the proposal and are working with the city on the plan.

Read or Share this story: