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Posted on: November 15, 2020

BNSF Railway Discontinues Overnight Operations on Aurora's West Side

BNSF

Months after residents on Aurora’s west side began hearing train horns overnight and in the early morning hours, the issue has become much quieter now.

BNSF Railway has resumed first shift daytime service on its Nifa Spur Line, which runs parallel to Highland Avenue on Aurora’s west side. The railroad also discontinued its third shift overnight service on this line, which started because of the impact of COVID-19 on rail industry operations.

Consequently, federally mandated train horns will not be activated throughout the night as the trains pass through a densely populated residential area.

BNSF is resuming first shift operations to better meet the operational needs of the industry. The move coincides with discussions with residents and elected officials about the concerns of horns being sounded at particular times. BNSF states the reversal in the schedule will be in effect for the time being, as route schedules are generated by national trends in the industry.

Because of the proximity to residential neighborhoods, federal law requires horns to be sounded frequently as trains travel through the area. Residents on Aurora’s west side reported a reduced quality of life when the freight train line changed service operations to third shift earlier this year.

City officials met with BNSF executives to address the concerns and request overnight rail travel be rerouted to daytime hours.

“This is great news for the community,” said Aurora Deputy Mayor Chuck Nelson, “Between our discussions and the railroad’s own plan to resume first shift operations, this decision is a mutually agreeable solution that is a win for everyone. We are thrilled the issue has been resolved thanks to the cooperation and communication from all parties involved.

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