We are newcomers in Olympia and have found it to be a truly beautiful area, and it has a lot to offer. However, what we have found disappointing and annoying are the unnecessary train horns at Highway 99 and Rich Road.
Additionally, there is a railroad bridge at Rainier Road SE and the Chehalis Western Trail, and the engineers routinely sound their horn there even though there are not any crossings or footpaths. The others are guarded railroad crossings having both audio and visual (flashing red-light) warnings. Moreover, I have been told by other long-term residents that there is not any history of accidents at those crossings.
I contacted the BNSF community affairs office and was simply told that the BNSF does not take part in the creation of quiet zones. BNSF said that regardless of the safeguards, they had to follow federal regulations.
This unnecessary noise which is between 96 and 110 decibels impacts thousands of residents in the surrounding bedroom communities. At this level, the horn carries for miles and miles. Apparently, the engineer decides on the intensity as well as the duration of the horn. Federal regulations require a standardized pattern of two long, one short and one long blast according to BNSF's community affairs office.