Mundelein residents are starting to hear train warning signals at the CN/Metra rail line crossings. Hopefully, this is a temporary occurrence. The train horns are now sounding due to non-compliance on some Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) mandated upgrades among a few communities in the Lake County Quiet Zone.
For 16 years, Mundelein and nine other communities along the CN/Metra rail line (stretching from Antioch to Wheeling) have been part of the “Lake County Quiet Zone.” Quiet Zones are regulated by the FRA. In recent years, the FRA modified its requirements for crossings. These modifications require that nearly all crossings within the Lake County Quiet Zone (in seven of the 10 communities) need to undergo improvements—all of which require considerable amounts of time and money.
The impacted communities did not anticipate these mandated improvements, so the budgeting, engineering plans, construction bids, and the work required to bring the crossings into compliance is not yet complete. Additionally, completing the necessary improvements has been hampered by an extremely challenging construction environment, in which the pandemic caused delays, disruptions, and significant cost increases. For the Lake County Quiet Zone to be reinstated, all 10 communities must follow the FRA mandated upgrades. The Quiet Zone is an “ALL OR NOTHING” arrangement among the 10 municipalities.
While Mundelein is in TOTAL COMPLIANCE with the mandated upgrades there are still a few intersections along the line that need upgrades in other jurisdictions. This situation has several complexities. Here are answers to a few FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS to provide some clarity on this matter.