Railroad Quiet Zones considered in Lockhart


By Kyle Mooty

LPR Editor

The Lockhart City Council is looking into a feasibility report and considering Quiet Zones for the railroad running through town.

A Quiet Zone must be at least a half-mile in length with no crossings within a quarter-mile at the end or beginning of a Quiet Zone. If passed, trains would not be requires to sound horns as they travel through highway-grade crossings.

Public Works Director Sean Kelley said the current railroad system traveling through Lockhart is Union Pacific Railroad Network out of the San Antonio division, which has about five trains daily on average traveling through town – about 10 during its peak seasons – traveling east to west. The top speed for the trains on the four-mile stretch through the Lockhart City Limits is 40-miles-per-hour. These railroad cars can be double-stacked with cargo, if needed.

By contrast, Luling has about 30-plus trains per day with the top speed allowed at 70-miles-per-hour.

Kelley said communities have the option of having a partial Quiet Zone, which would be from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

As it is, the Federal Railroad Administration requires locomotives’ horns to begin sounding from 15 to 20 seconds prior to entering public highway-grade crossings.

Kelley said among the options to consider with Quiet Zone renovations would be new gates, horns, and lights, and if deemed necessary would cost between $30,000 and $1 million. The City would seek grants to help defray the costs.

San Marcos, Kyle, Austin, and San Antonio have Quiet Zones.

“The courts would ultimately determine who will be liable if a collision occurs at a public-grade crossing in a quiet zone,” Kelley said.

Railroads have been in Lockhart as far back as 1887.

City Engineer Will Wachel said one-third of Union Pacific Railroad shipments are bulk shipments, such as grain; another third is industrial pellets/plastics; and the remaining is autos and automotive parts.

The May 7 meeting of the Lockhart City Council will have a more formal item on the agenda for the City Council to consider Quiet Zones.

In other business:

The City Council unanimously approved reappointing members of the Hotel Occupancy Tax Advisory Board to two-year terms ending April 15, 2026. Those members are Sally Daniel, Archana Gandhi, Steve Lewis, Alfredo Munoz, and Ray Sanders.

City Manager Steve Lewis said the new Soccer Mini-Pitch began being built this week as one of the basketball courts is being converted by the U.S. Soccer Foundation at the LaFleur Soccer Complex. The joint project of the City of Lockhart and Lockhart ISD includes grant funding from the U.S. Soccer Foundation, St. David’s Foundation, and 4ATX Foundation.

Lewis said the mini-pitch should be completed in about 10 days.

Lewis also noted contractors had begun installing off-site water and wastewater utility extensions for the Real Cold Storage Project, located on FM 2001 near Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

The Lockhart Kiwanis 5K Stampede will be Saturday, April 27, at 8 a.m. All proceeds benefit the Kiwanis Scholarship Program.


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.