Horn blaring at train stations is a major problem. It complicates efforts to build housing near transit, and becomes ammunition for Nimby opponents of new passenger rail service.
Regulation for horn blaring at stations is currently handled at the State level. This is not necessarily a good thing — for example, the California PUC requires trains to sound bells and horns whenever they enter and leave stations. But now, the situation may get worse as the FRA plans to Federalize the regulation of horn blowing at “pedestrian crossings”:
Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 222.21 requires that a train horn be sounded while trains approach and enter public highway-rail grade crossings. However, horn sounding upon approach to pedestrian-only crossings at or near rail passenger stations is generally governed by State law.
On the other hand, horn sounding at passenger stations is usually performed in accordance with a railroad-issued instruction or operating rule. In order to supplement the audible warning provided to rail passengers by the locomotive horn, some railroads also require sounding of the locomotive bell on approach and while moving through passenger stations. FRA recommends adoption of this practice, whether or not the train will service the station.
This rule seems to apply to all types of stations, even ones with full grade separations and high platforms.