49 CFR 222.21 - When must a locomotive horn be used?
(a) Except as provided in this part, the locomotive horn on the lead locomotive of a train, lite locomotive consist, individual locomotive or lead cab car shall be sounded when such locomotive or lead cab car is approaching a public highway-rail grade crossing. Sounding of the locomotive horn with two long blasts, one short blast and one long blast shall be initiated at a location so as to be in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section and shall be repeated or prolonged until the locomotive occupies the crossing. This pattern may be varied as necessary where crossings are spaced closely together.
(1) Railroads to which this part applies shall comply with all the requirements contained in this paragraph (b) beginning on December 15, 2006. On and after June 24, 2005, but prior to December 15, 2006, a railroad shall, at its option, comply with this section or shall sound the locomotive horn in the manner required by State law, or in the absence of State law, in the manner required by railroad operating rules in effect immediately prior to June 24, 2005.
(2) Except as provided in paragraphs (b)(3) and (d) of this section, or when the locomotive horn is defective and the locomotive is being moved for repair consistent with section 229.9 of this chapter, the locomotive horn shall begin to be sounded at least 15 seconds, but no more than 20 seconds, before the locomotive enters the crossing. It shall not constitute a violation of this section if, acting in good faith, a locomotive engineer begins sounding the locomotive horn not more than 25 seconds before the locomotive enters the crossing, if the locomotive engineer is unable to precisely estimate the time of arrival of the train at the crossing for whatever reason.
(3) Trains, locomotive consists and individual locomotives traveling at speeds in excess of 60 mph shall not begin sounding the horn more than one-quarter mile (1,320 feet) in advance of the nearest public highway-rail grade crossing, even if the advance warning provided by the locomotive horn will be less than 15 seconds in duration.
(c) As stated in § 222.3(c) of this part, this section does not apply to any Chicago Region highway-rail grade crossing at which railroads were excused from sounding the locomotive horn by the Illinois Commerce Commission, and where railroads did not sound the horn, as of December 18, 2003.
(d) Trains, locomotive consists and individual locomotives that have stopped in close proximity to a public highway-rail grade crossing may approach the crossing and sound the locomotive horn for less than 15 seconds before the locomotive enters the highway-rail grade crossing, if the locomotive engineer is able to determine that the public highway-rail grade crossing is not obstructed and either:
(1) The public highway-rail grade crossing is equipped with automatic flashing lights and gates and the gates are fully lowered; or
(2) There are no conflicting highway movements approaching the public highway-rail grade crossing.
(e) Where State law requires the sounding of a locomotive audible warning device other than the locomotive horn at public highway-rail grade crossings, that locomotive audible warning device shall be sounded in accordance with paragraphs (b) and (d) of this section.