End of quiet zone means train horns to sound in St. Matthews

Rita Nickle
Rita Nickle
Rick Tonini
Rick Tonini
Tammy Gross
Tammy Gross

St. Matthews, KY - By Connie Leonard - bio | email

ST. MATTHEWS, KY (WAVE) - If you live in St. Matthews, your quiet zone is over. As of 12:01 a.m. on June 25, CSX put an end to the quiet zones at five east end railroad crossings. CSX operates as many as 30 trains per day through St. Matthews and the move to sound the horns follows a stalemate between CSX and St. Matthews officials.

Rita Nickle loves to work in her St. Matthews yard - just her and nature. She told us it is so quiet and peaceful - at least it was.

"I think it's terrible," said Nickle, reacting to the end of the quiet zone by CSX. "I've lived here 42 years and the trains have never bothered me at all. But I'm sure with this whistle going all day long, it's going to be very difficult."

"In two years, we basically have not heard anything," said Rick Tonini, a St. Matthews City Councilman.

Tonini isn't talking about the train noise; he says the city hasn't heard from CSX officials. According to Tonini, the last time the city heard from CSX was in 2008 when railroad let them know five St. Matthews crossing quiet zones pre-dated current federal regulations.

"They actually wanted us to put a median down Chenoweth Lane to move business entrances to where properties would be very difficult to access," Tonini said.

Knowing that would hurt businesses, St. Matthews applied for a new quiet zone. CSX asked the city to pay for new gates and other improvements, offering a ballpark estimate of $200,000. Tonini says St. Mathews agreed to pay, but didn't want to write a blank check, so they started low.

"We sent a check to CSX for $10,000 to start engineering and design of the new gates that would be installed at Chenoweth Lane," Tonini said.

After they sent the money, Tonini said St. Matthews officials never heard from CSX.

"We gave them $10,000 to do the work and we did everything we were asked to do," said Tonini.

So until it is all worked out, the horns will sound.

In the interest of safety, some business owners think that might not be so bad. Tammy Gross, the owner of Gross Diamond Company, that sits right on the Chenoweth Lane crossing said they are not worried about the noise.

"The traffic is so busy here at our intersection and cars going a million different ways at once," said Gross.

But neighbors like Nickle - and her flowers - sure will miss that peace and quiet.

"They're [her plants] used to my melodious voice and I'm sure that train whistle is going to terrify them," said Nickle, while taking it all in stride.

St. Matthews officials say making improvements too early at the Thierman Lane crossing could be a mess because CSX and the Louisville Water Company are in discussions over a water line under the tracks.

CSX officials had not returned our calls by news time.

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