How it works: When are conductors required to sound train horns at a crossing?

Federal law sets various requirements in regard to train and railroad operations in Texas, including how often and when trains have to blow their horns. For example, train operators are required to sound horns at least 20 seconds before they approach a public road crossing, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Residents may also wonder why conductors are required to blow horns when there are already automatic warning signals at the intersection. Law requires engineers to blow the horn as it approaches and goes through the intersection, according to TxDOT.


However, there are potential restrictions or loopholes. Certain communities may apply for quiet zones if Federal Railroad Administration requirements are met, and therefore trains will not be able to sound their horns when passing through the zone, according to TxDOT.

Some cities may also use wayside horns, which are mounted on the signal at an intersection and would be directed at traffic in the street and potentially less disruptive, according to TxDOT.
By Marie Leonard
Marie came to Community Impact Newspaper in June 2011 after starting her career at a daily newspaper in East Texas. She worked as a reporter and editor for the Cy-Fair edition for nearly 5 years covering Harris County, Cy-Fair ISD, and local development and transportation news. She then moved to The Woodlands edition and covered local politics and development news in the master-planned community before being promoted to managing editor for the South Houston editions in July 2017.


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