Two longs, no shorts

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Two longs, no shorts
Posted by Murphy Siding on Friday, December 01, 2017 9:39 PM

    I just got home from a trip a couple hundred miles from home. We stayed in a rural area near a busy main of a Class 1 railroad. A train came through about every 45 minutes all night and all day! What I noticed at night was that the trains would blow their horns as only two long blasts, instead of the familiar long-long-short-long.

      The 5 or 6 crossings that I could hear them blowing the horn for are very rural. At night, there is no traffic. The landscape is flat,  has no trees and you can see for miles. Is the long-long-short-long horn pattern a required sequence for the engineer, or is it up to the engineer to just do what's safe? 

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, December 01, 2017 10:07 PM

Murphy Siding
    I just got home from a trip a couple hundred miles from home. We stayed in a rural area near a busy main of a Class 1 railroad. A train came through about every 45 minutes all night and all day! What I noticed at night was that the trains would blow their horns as only two long blasts, instead of the familiar long-long-short-long.


      The 5 or 6 crossings that I could hear them blowing the horn for are very rural. At night, there is no traffic. The landscape is flat,  has no trees and you can see for miles. Is the long-long-short-long horn pattern a required sequence for the engineer, or is it up to the engineer to just do what's safe? 

Rules are the rules.  If a Road Foreman of Engines or other company official would review the data recorded from the trip and saw the engineer only sounding 2 longs - the engineer is is trouble - be it a verbal repermand that won't show up on the record, a formal repermand that does remain on the employees record or even more serious discipline.

         

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Posted by Mookie on Saturday, December 02, 2017 4:38 AM

Partial quiet zone?

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Saturday, December 02, 2017 6:57 AM

There are three kinds of people in this world.  Those who can count and those who can't.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Saturday, December 02, 2017 7:26 AM

BaltACD

 

 
Murphy Siding
    I just got home from a trip a couple hundred miles from home. We stayed in a rural area near a busy main of a Class 1 railroad. A train came through about every 45 minutes all night and all day! What I noticed at night was that the trains would blow their horns as only two long blasts, instead of the familiar long-long-short-long.


      The 5 or 6 crossings that I could hear them blowing the horn for are very rural. At night, there is no traffic. The landscape is flat,  has no trees and you can see for miles. Is the long-long-short-long horn pattern a required sequence for the engineer, or is it up to the engineer to just do what's safe? 

 

Rules are the rules.  If a Road Foreman of Engines or other company official would review the data recorded from the trip and saw the engineer only sounding 2 longs - the engineer is is trouble - be it a verbal repermand that won't show up on the record, a formal repermand that does remain on the employees record or even more serious discipline.

 

Murphy Siding posted as his topic line: "Two longs, no shorts"

Posted by Murphy Siding on Friday, December 01, 2017 9:39 PM
 
 
 
The questions seem to remain...."
"How did you know the engineer had "No Shorts" 
Was he standing out on the walkway?Mischief
Was he wearing his required safety gear?Bang Head
Are shorts required? Whistling
Did You Take pictures? Grumpy
"...Enquiring minds....."Smile, Wink & GrinLaugh

Sam

 

 


 

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, December 02, 2017 9:13 AM

Mookie
Partial quiet zone?

Mook, I think that the described horn use maps to the same thing as being 'partially pregnant'. 

The minimum intensity of any locomotive horn, under any circumstances, is currently 96dB, and I believe the OP said he was hearing two long blasts per crossing.  Meanwhile, the 'legal' definition of a Partial Quiet Zone involves time of day, not time the horn is to be held on while blowing for the crossing (I believe the current interval is 10pm to 7am, during which no horn at all is sounded, with regular use outside that window).

Something I have occasionally observed is 'shorter bursts' used late at night, with the same pattern as the usual long-long-short-long but comparatively short 'beeps' and shorter shorts, the last being timed right as the engine is entering the crossing.  This could be 'plausible denial' for any potential legal claim that the mandatory signal was not sounded, while reducing the sound pollution for surrounding neighbors.  Two longs is NOT going to produce either effect particularly well...

And we can dispense with the usual comedians reflecting on 'short shorts', too: here ya go.

 

 

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Posted by tree68 on Saturday, December 02, 2017 9:37 AM

I've heard engineers who basically run one long horn blast with an ever-so-short break between the segments.  If the engineer is just letting off the horn lever (or switch), then right back on it, it could well sound like just two blasts.

With horns now being installed back on the carbody, there's a bit of a reservoir in the form of the air line between the horn valve and the horn.  Too brief a break can cause the blasts to run into each other.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, December 02, 2017 1:37 PM

If every one was doing the same thing, I would suspect a local requirement of some kind in effect.  To know for sure, you would need to talk to someone who works that area.

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, December 02, 2017 2:02 PM

tree68

I've heard engineers who basically run one long horn blast with an ever-so-short break between the segments.  If the engineer is just letting off the horn lever (or switch), then right back on it, it could well sound like just two blasts.

With horns now being installed back on the carbody, there's a bit of a reservoir in the form of the air line between the horn valve and the horn.  Too brief a break can cause the blasts to run into each other.

 

Larry, you may have something there. The only time I ever rode in a cab when there was a station stop along my way, I expected to hear two shorts from the communication system--instead, there was  a short that trailed off briefly and did not stop and then became loud again,. The engineer prompted me to give the trainman two shorts, which I did.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Saturday, December 02, 2017 2:19 PM

Mookie

Partial quiet zone?

 

Or intermittent quiet zone? Long-quiet-quiet-long.Whistling

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Posted by Mookie on Saturday, December 02, 2017 2:25 PM

 

 

 
Mookie

Partial quiet zone?

 

 

 

Or intermittent quiet zone? Long-quiet-quiet-long.Whistling

 

 

[/quote] works for me!

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Posted by Semper Vaporo on Saturday, December 02, 2017 3:03 PM

How close together are the crossings?  Maybe there just is not time to complete the regular --.- between crossings, so the engineers are just sounding a series of longs with short breaks between.

Semper Vaporo

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Posted by Mookie on Saturday, December 02, 2017 4:20 PM

Murphy's orig post - sounds like daylight - they use regular xing whistle.  This only happens at night.  Maybe businesses during day have traffic - necessitating a full whistle, while at nite all is closed, but just in case of some walking/mobile traffic, you need some kind of whistle.  Hence, Wow a partial quiet zone for anyone living in the area.  Murphy, care to clarify?  (Our city declared a lot of quiet zone, not the railroad.  Too bad it doesn't apply to noisy cars)

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Saturday, December 02, 2017 6:32 PM

Semper Vaporo

How close together are the crossings?  Maybe there just is not time to complete the regular --.- between crossings, so the engineers are just sounding a series of longs with short breaks between.

 

This is a very rural area. There is a generally a gravel mile road every 5280 feet. This area is near a lake so the distance is probably one crossing every 2 miles or so.

     I know what you mean about crossings close together. We stayed overnight in a small town in Northern Minnesota once where the coal trains came through at track speed. The tracks ran diagonal to the streets. There were 6-8 crossing very tightly spaced. The trains pretty much blew their horns from one of town to the other.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Saturday, December 02, 2017 6:35 PM

Mookie

Murphy's orig post - sounds like daylight - they use regular xing whistle.  This only happens at night.  Maybe businesses during day have traffic - necessitating a full whistle, while at nite all is closed, but just in case of some walking/mobile traffic, you need some kind of whistle.  Hence, Wow a partial quiet zone for anyone living in the area.  Murphy, care to clarify?  (Our city declared a lot of quiet zone, not the railroad.  Too bad it doesn't apply to noisy cars)

 

It's a very rural area, no businesses, mostly just farms and some lake cabins (not our cabin). Daytime traffic would be cars, trucks and tractors. Night time would be deer, raccoons and an occasional car.

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Saturday, December 02, 2017 10:33 PM

Murphy Siding

 

 
Semper Vaporo

How close together are the crossings?  Maybe there just is not time to complete the regular --.- between crossings, so the engineers are just sounding a series of longs with short breaks between.

 

 

 

This is a very rural area. There is a generally a gravel mile road every 5280 feet. This area is near a lake so the distance is probably one crossing every 2 miles or so.

     I know what you mean about crossings close together. We stayed overnight in a small town in Northern Minnesota once where the coal trains came through at track speed. The tracks ran diagonal to the streets. There were 6-8 crossing very tightly spaced. The trains pretty much blew their horns from one of town to the other.

 

   Where I used to work in New Orleans, there were tracks that cut diagonally through a residential area.   Where two crossings were very close, I noticed that they would just prolong the final long till the second street was crossed.

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, December 03, 2017 8:19 AM

Murphy Siding
 I know what you mean about crossings close together.

I've seen areas where the "whistle board" also included the letters "MX", for multiple crossings.

OTOH, the village of Hancock, NY, used to include about 4 crossings in short order, but due to a very sharp curve and the old truss bridge, train speeds are very low.  Combine squealing wheels, the bridge, and all those crossings, and it gets pretty noisy at dawn on a Sunday morning.  But I digress.  One of the crossings was closed, and most engineers were "gentle" on the horn early in the morning.

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Posted by zardoz on Monday, December 04, 2017 3:14 PM

Where I live, there are two roads that meet at a "T", and the CP tracks cross both roads just before the roads meet, and track speed is 79/60. There is about five car lengths between the roads, and most Engineers use a sequence of "Long--Long--Short--Long--Short--Long (the standard 15L warning with an abreviated 15L tacked on the end).

On the rare occasions when the train speed is slower, the Engineers do a series of 15L's, one right after the other (long-long-short-long-long-long-short-long).

An aside note, in Pleasant Prairie WI (where the aforementioned crossing is), for years now all of the grade crossings have a sign warning motorists that "No train horn sounded), yet the trains on both the UP and CP continue to honk away at all hours.

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Posted by tree68 on Monday, December 04, 2017 3:23 PM

zardoz
On the rare occasions when the train speed is slower, the Engineers do a series of 15L's, one right after the other (long-long-short-long-long-long-short-long).

As I recall, the rule reads that the 15L signal will be sounded for crossings, and if you get through --.- before you reach the crossing, you repeat it until you do.

Most engineers have the timing down well enough that they can get the signal in in the requisite 15-20 seconds and finish at the crossing, for a single road crossing.  Multiples are another story, as already noted.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, December 04, 2017 6:56 PM

Zardoz, your Consolidated Code upbringing is showing.  Whistle and horn signals were under Rule 14 in just about every other rule book, pre-NORAC and GCOR era.  (GCOR, before they renumbered the rules, used Rule 15.)  Even the Consolidated Code before the 1967 edition had them under Rule 14.

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Posted by aegrotatio on Monday, December 04, 2017 10:35 PM

I had some free time one afternoon so I railfanned the VRE on Norfolk Southern.  When the trains approach the station they sound two long blasts and that was it.  In that particular area, all of the crossings with earshot are grade-separated.

It sounds like a local operating policy for stations or depots, maybe?

 

 

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Posted by tree68 on Monday, December 04, 2017 10:39 PM

aegrotatio
It sounds like a local operating policy for stations or depots, maybe?

I spend a lot of time at the Utica, NY station this time of year.  You hear the gamut - a couple of shorts, a couple of longs, one long, one short, 15L, what-have-you, even Jingle Bells one night a few years ago...  

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, December 04, 2017 11:19 PM

CSX Horn Rules

         

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 8:03 AM

BaltACD

CSX Horn Rules

 

That (g) is a new one to me. Is this blown when the engineer has had no signal to proceed given him? 

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 9:40 PM

Deggesty

 

 
BaltACD

CSX Horn Rules

 

 

 

That (g) is a new one to me. Is this blown when the engineer has had no signal to proceed given him? 

 

 

Two longs have traditionally been used when initiating movement forward.  (except as noted during switching moves)  It's to warn anyone near the train you are about to start moving.  In the old days, it was also to warn those in the caboose.  (It was also the answer to a train order signal displaying a calling-on indication under the old Uniform Code.)

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 9:47 PM

NORAC 19(e) has three shorts for back up, two for forward.

The crossing signal is NORAC 19(b).

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 10:03 PM

Three shorts (which GCOR also has for backing up) also at one time was a signal while moving to stop at the next passenger station.  One video I have from the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic's early days shows a double header approaching Cumbres.  The lead engine sounds one extended long (approaching station) and then three shorts.  The second answers with three shorts.

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Posted by zardoz on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 10:20 PM

jeffhergert

Zardoz, your Consolidated Code upbringing is showing.  Whistle and horn signals were under Rule 14 in just about every other rule book, pre-NORAC and GCOR era.  (GCOR, before they renumbered the rules, used Rule 15.)  Even the Consolidated Code before the 1967 edition had them under Rule 14.

Jeff

 

My apologies to all for misleading information.

And since my years behind the throttle are now officially established as based in antiquity, I can now ask questions that are directed towards current Rails, such as: When did the policy requiring Engineers to wear those silly orange or yellow 'safety' vests begin? And does the crew have to wear them even when sitting in the cab?

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 10:30 PM

   I don't remember hearing it lately, but sometime ago I noticed on the Rochelle web cam that when workers were present some UP trains would give repeated quick double toots instead of ringing the bell.   I guess the situation would be covered by (f) in Balt's CSX chart which doesn't specify what the sounds would be.   Is this a UP convention or rule?   I don't remember hearing BNSF do this.

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Posted by Mookie on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 10:39 PM

tree68

NORAC 19(e) has three shorts for back up, two for forward.

The crossing signal is NORAC 19(b).

 

Parked close to the yard - we hear - (I think I have this right) 1 short for set and centered; 2 advance and 3 back up.  Always some kind of whistle @ depot, but figure it is for the unobservant as well as a signal for the depot.

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