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      Trains silent as Fairfield's quiet zone becomes official

      If you pass through Fairfield and think that everything sounds unusually quiet, you'd be right.

      After several years of work and coordination, the town's quiet zone officially went into effect Monday at midnight. That means trains will no longer be able to sound their horns while passing through Fairfield. Each railroad crossing now has a median on either side, so that cars cannot go around the lowered gates when a train is approaching.

      The community is excited about completing the project, but the silence is something they will have to get used to.

      "This is a very positive thing for our community, it's a true community project, it was funded two-thirds by private donations, over 500 separate donors and just something that the majority of our town has been waiting a long time for," said Michael Halley, of the Fairfield City Council.

      Fairfield hired a consultant for the project and conferred often with city officials in Burlington, Iowa for help along the way. Halley said he is more than willing to answer questions or be involved in the process for other communities looking to complete a quiet zone. For economic development, quality of life and safety reasons, Halley said the project is well worth the effort.

      At the city council meeting on Monday, November 26, a representative of the Federal Railroad Administration will be present to talk about Operation Lifesaver, a continued effort to promote safety around railroad tracks for drivers, bikers and pedestrians. Fairfield will be offering courses about such safety issues in the near future.