Residents heard the sound of silence for the first time along a half-mile stretch of railway in Encinitas Wednesday as city officials established a 24-hour "quiet zone."
With the establishment of the quiet zone, trains using the 6.1-mile stretch of railway from Chesterfield Drive to Birmingham Drive will no longer be required to sound their horn.
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) rules require trains to sound their horn for about 20 seconds before entering all public crossings unless they have quiet zone approval.
Train conductors will still be allowed to sound their horns in emergency situations.
The quiet zone was established as part of a $6.2 million safety improvement project that also widened sidewalks in the area and added new multi-use bike and pedestrian path, signals and warning signs for motorists and pedestrians.
In order to gain approvale from the FRA, the Encinitas railway needed to install two additional gates across traffic lanes and concrete medians in the street. The crossing was closed for three weeks as crews completed the requirements.
San Diego implemented two quiet zones -- in Little Italy and in downtown San Diego -- in 2012 thanks to a $20.6 million safety improvement project.
The project was funded by the city, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the North County Transit District (NCTD), California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Federal Railroad Administration, and the California Public Utilities Commission.