Rockland County Railroad Crossing Safety
& Quiet Zone project West Shore Line
Status Update - August 2017
The project continues to move forward, with the most current activity involving right-of-way (ROW) and easement acquisition for where the four-quadrant gates will be placed at the majority of the crossings. Provision of Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)-approved Supplemental Safety Measures (SSMs) such as four-quadrant gates is required before we can establish a Train Horn “Quiet Zone.
Rockland County's Quiet Zone will be the first in New York State (NYS) under the new Federal Rule. While this is certainly an exciting prospect, being the first has also subjected the project to tremendous scrutiny at the State level, as well as with CSX Railroad. NYS Department of Transportation's (DOT's) and CSX's significant review processes over the past many years have been lengthy, and CSX continues to delay the project, which has increased costs and pushed back the implementation timeline. The County had hoped that CSX would already have added the project to their construction schedule by now. Unfortunately, that has not happened and the Railroad has indicated that it cannot commit to a construction schedule nor can they establish a construction agreement at this time. CSX has advised the County that they are prioritizing the Positive Train Control projects they are required to undertake, and that, as a result, the County should expect its project to, once again, be delayed.
In the meantime, the County continues to progress what work can be done at the local level. In September 2016, the project reconvened with local officials, the project consultant team, Federal Railroad Administration, NYS DOT and CSX Railroad representatives to have a technical meeting regarding local roadway involvement and discuss how towns and villages will be involved in the SSMs that will be installed at crossings on the West Shore Line between Andre Avenue in Orangetown and Railroad Avenue in Haverstraw (Phase I).
Following notification in 2016 that the project’s federal funds were at risk of being repurposed, the County undertook a major effort to ensure those funds remained available to the project. Subsequently, NYS DOT confirmed that the Railroad Crossing Safety project's Federal funds would remain dedicated to the project.
Rockland County is fully aware of the safety concerns associated with railroad crossings, and the impact train horn noise has on quality of life for residents who live along the line. Homeowners along the line are understandably eager to have the Quiet Zone in place. Although it has not advanced as quickly as the County would have liked, Rockland County is dedicated to bringing this project to fruition.