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Hamburg session set on railroad quiet zones

Representatives of the federal agency that regulates railroads and officials from the two major railroads that pass through Hamburg are expected at a public meeting on the town's efforts to establish railroad quiet zones.

The session is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of Frontier Middle School, 2751 Amsdell Road.

The session was arranged by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Town Councilwoman Kathleen C. Hochul.

"Bringing everyone to the table is an important step in the right direction," Schumer said in a statement Wednesday. "Families in Hamburg deserve a quiet zone where the rail crossings are both safe and quiet.

"Local leaders have taken the initial steps needed to get this done, and the community needs to be heard. I will partner with the [Federal Railroad Administration], CSX, Norfolk Southern and the community to create crossings that are safe and quiet."

More than 100 trains a day pass Hamburg's seven crossings, blowing their horns a minimum of four times as they approach each one.

Federal legislation allows the establishment of quiet zones silencing the horns if the crossings are modified to make it difficult for cars to get around lowered gates.

The town is seeking federal funding to cover the estimated $100,000 cost.

Anchorage, Alaska, received more than$1 million in federal funds to cover its quiet zone improvements, "so we view our request as modest in comparison," Hochul said.

A representative of Schumer's office is scheduled to attend the meeting, as well as Mark McKeon, Federal Railroad Administration regional administrator, and MauriceO'Connell, vice president for public affairs for CSX. Norfolk Southern also will send a representative, according to Schumer's office.

The agenda calls for a presentation by Gerard M. Kapsiak, town engineer, of the process the town began more than a year ago and various questions it has for the federal agency and the railroads.

After responses from the agency and the railroads, residents will be asked for their questions and comments.

e-mail: ternst@buffnews.com

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