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Railroad Sound Recordings / CDs

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Railroad Sound Recordings / CDs
Posted by JOHN C TARANTO on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 3:57 PM

I got a compact disc sound recording of steam locomotive whistles and I just love it!  The CD is titled Steel Rails Under Thundering Skys.  It's really cool.  It combines Steam locomotive chuffs and whistles, etc., with a background of rain and thunder.  If you have never heard this CD before, the rain and thunder makes for a great effect.  The recording has 11 tracks, each one averages between 5 and 10 minutes in length.  It starts off with the microphone inside a station or interlocking tower.  A pendulum clock is ticking, it rings the "Westminster Chimes" at the top of the hour followed by three strikes indicating three o'clock.  A rain storm is heard rolling in, and off in the distance you hear an almost ghostly sound of a steam whistle.  The train gets closer and closer, whistling as it passes the grade crossing.  Later, another trains pulls in.  You can hear a worker pull the release lever on the coupler.  The engineer gives a couple of short toots on his whistle and you can hear the slack taken up between the cars.  The brake hoses snap and hiss.  After every two or three tracks, the clock will ring again.  On the quarter hour, on the half, on the quarter-till.  The whistles and chuffs and run-bys and rain continue.  You can hear the rain dripping off the eaves of the building.  The recording features a variety of different steam locomotives.  At the end, the clock strikes four.  And then, the station master uses his key and winds the clock... 

If you haven't got this CD in your collection, I highly recommend it.  What is your favorite recording?

"Shovel all the coal in, gotta keep 'em rolling..."  John.      

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Posted by pajrr on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 3:42 AM

I have that CD. It is one of my favorites. Another favorite is The Fading Giant by O. Winston Link. I play the Pelican Arriving at Rural Retreat segment every Christmas Eve. My all time favorite, however, is  On Time, which features PRR k-4s on the New York & Long Branch. The NY&LB is now NJ Transits North Jersey Coast Line which I am very familiar with. I can visualize each station with NJT trains and the sounds morph the NJT power into K-4s.

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 5:02 PM

The CD is a blast from the past.  It was originally a 33 1/3 RPM LP that was released in the 60s!  I don't have it but still have my LPs of Mr. D's Machine  (diesels on the SP in California) and a double LP recording of steam on the NdeM south of the border down Mexico way!

Great listening!

 

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 9:22 AM

Funny you should mention vintage sound recordings!

While paging through the 3Q 2011 New York Central Historical Society Headlight Magazine I came across a review of a recording made in 1950 in the Peekskill, N.Y. area along the Central's main.

These recordings were made by Emory Cook and sound incredibly sharp and clear.

Just last night I visited the site and, fortunately, found the recordings still available for a reasonable $6.98 (download).

http://www.folkways.si.edu/rail-dynamics/sounds/album/smithsonian

You can view the album cover and read the liner notes and listen to a short sample. I downloaded the album, you get both MP3 and FLAC files. I used PayPal and being a Smithsonian member also got 10% off! 

http://media.smithsonianfolkways.org/liner_notes/cook/COOK01270.pdf

Prices are the same as they were in 2011! When you check out and pay for the download a shipping charge shows up (?) but then disappears at final checkout.

CD and Cassette are available also for a bit higher cost. Since I downloaded this at 2AM I have not had a chance to crank up the ol' Seeburg and really listen at full volume!

A very enjoyable 38 minutes of NYC steam and six-wheel heavyweights on 127 pound, jointed Dudley rail.

In my younger days I used to have a pretty good collection of Mobile Fidelity and other albums. If I recall "Sunday Only" was one of my favorites.

I just found a pretty comprehensive list of various railroad recordings that have been available commercially over the years:

http://utahrails.net/rr-audio.php

 

Regards, Ed

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Posted by JOHN C TARANTO on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 11:58 AM

Ed,

Thanks for the heads-up on this wealth of information.  I'm a big New York Central fan, although born too late (1957) to enjoy any steam in regular service.  I'll will definitely be ordering some recordings!

"Shovel all the coal in, gotta keep 'em rolling..."  John.  

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Posted by Fr.Al on Thursday, December 29, 2016 9:53 AM

Folkways Records had four LPs of Steam locomotives. I bought Vol. 1 from Smithsonian. Love the steamboat whistle on the IC 2-8-2 on the first track!

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Posted by banjobenne1 on Sunday, June 2, 2024 8:29 PM

This is all good stuff, but I am looking for a recording of riding in a old wooden coach with the creaking popping groaning click de clack, and whistle noise. Thank you. 

Tags: train noise
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Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, June 2, 2024 11:46 PM

This fellow on YouTube has many of the sound recordings I remember listening to on vinyl back in the day:

https://www.youtube.com/@tom_tractor_trailerscotrai2809

Here's but one example:

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by BigJim on Monday, June 3, 2024 7:58 PM

banjobenne1

This is all good stuff, but I am looking for a recording of riding in a old wooden coach with the creaking popping groaning click de clack, and whistle noise. Thank you. 

Try "TRACK TALK - OnBoard".

.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, June 4, 2024 8:06 PM

There was a kid's record around the turn of the century that had about 22 minutes of track and car sounds with sung lullabies.  If you looked carefully at the CD, it also had the 22 minutes without the singing...

Somewhere deep in storage is an alternative version of what you want.  The most aurally rich ride I can remember was aboard a train of ancient MP54s from 30th St. out to Swarthmore -- bangs, gear moan, slack thumps, and all the creaking you could want.

I modified one of those Advent 201A cassette decks to run on 12V battery power and put a car battery in a case with handles to power it.  If anyone else has a published recording of MP54s (anywhere they ran, not just the West Chester line) I'd like to hear it.

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