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Diesel Horn Sequences

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  • Member since
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  • From: Miles City, Montana
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Diesel Horn Sequences
Posted by FRRYKid on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 3:17 AM

Probably covered before but here goes. Is there a list of the "standard" horn calls for diesel engines (70s era)? What I'm looking for in particular is the following: approaching crossings, departing from and approaching a railyard, switching cars in said yard and on industrial trackage and for passenger trains coming and going if they're different. Just got an manual sound system hooked up (not DCC) and I want to learn to use it properly. As usual any assistance that can be provided would be most welcomed.

Before anyone knocks me for not going DCC, I have in excess of 20 engines and it would get a bit much to convert them all at once and some of the engines are old enough (older than I am) that I don't know how I would do it.

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
Brain waves can power an electric train. RealFact #832 from Snapple.
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Posted by wrench567 on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 9:38 AM

I will never knock anyone sticking with DC. DCC can become a hobby in itself. The railroads used to have their own whistle signals in the early days of steam. They started to standardize whistle signals and fully standardized when the Federal Rail Road administration took over during world war one. The list of signals is long. If you Google railroad whistle signals you will get all the information you need. Common crossing is 2 longs, a short and a long that should carry it into the crossing. With multiple crossings a combination of long and shorts as directed by rule book for the given area.

  Hope this helps.

      Pete.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 9:39 AM

Trains.com article

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 11:28 AM

FRRYKid
Is there a list of the "standard" horn calls for diesel engines (70s era)?

See the link to the trains article.

What I'm looking for in particular is the following: approaching crossings,

14 L - Long-long-short-long

departing from and approaching a railyard, switching cars in said yard and on industrial trackage and for passenger trains coming and going if they're different.

None.  There aren't signals for those specifically.  The only signals used in yards or industry tracks are for brake tests, none for switching.

 

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by FRRYKid on Thursday, May 4, 2023 3:00 AM

One other sequence that I need that isn't covered directly is this: What sequence is to be used for a public crossing directly followed by a station platform? There are calls for each component but not the two together or would that be a local rules thing?

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
Brain waves can power an electric train. RealFact #832 from Snapple.
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Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, May 4, 2023 10:33 AM

A crossing then a platform exists at Ashland VA.  Amtrak comes through there on the way to Florida.  I never watch virtual Railfan with the sound on, but you could.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIwzSSGbxZw

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by jeffhergert on Thursday, May 4, 2023 11:46 AM

FRRYKid

One other sequence that I need that isn't covered directly is this: What sequence is to be used for a public crossing directly followed by a station platform? There are calls for each component but not the two together or would that be a local rules thing?

 

Unless there are local instructions or rules, I don't know of any horn/whistle signal for going through passenger stations.  The bell would be rung continously passing through the station.

Jeff

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, May 4, 2023 1:19 PM

On the Erie Lackawanna Northern Branch trains leaving Tenafly southbound, there is a major street just past that end of the platform.  The RS3s always blew for that crossing coming out of the station (this would have been in my experience, from 1959 to 1966).

I wish now that I could remember what happened at Ho-Ho-Kus (where there are roads close to the platforms) in the early Seventies... but I find I can't, although I can remember the eerie low Dopplered note that one of the Comet/U34CH trains would make passing a crossing on the higher-speed sections close to Suffern.

Nowadays most of these crossings would be quiet zones, but it would be a matter of local ordinance acceptable to the railroad then.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, May 4, 2023 2:22 PM

I seem to remember reading somewhere a rule about blowing one long when approaching a junction or manned station?

Note that today many crossings are 'silent' so there's no horn, maybe just a crossing bell. That would not be common (if done at all) in the OP's 1970s timeframe.

Stix
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Posted by OldEngineman on Thursday, May 4, 2023 9:15 PM

On Metro-North, there is a horn rule that trains will sound one long on the horn approaching station platforms.

Exception is that from 10pm-6am if no one is observed on platform, horn signal need not be sounded.

Also this rule does not apply in Grand Central Terminal.

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Posted by FRRYKid on Friday, May 5, 2023 3:06 AM

This station is a passenger station stop and part of a railyard. The track in question is in the back of the yard as to avoid fouling freight operations as much as possible. On the west end, there is a track just for passenger operations. That track leads to the crossing and the platform. The crossing doesn't have anything other than crossbucks guarding the tracks so no bells or lights.

However:

Overmod

On the Erie Lackawanna Northern Branch trains leaving Tenafly southbound, there is a major street just past that end of the platform.  The RS3s always blew for that crossing coming out of the station (this would have been in my experience, from 1959 to 1966).

In that situation, coming northbound should have been the sequence I need.

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
Brain waves can power an electric train. RealFact #832 from Snapple.
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Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, May 5, 2023 5:29 PM

wjstix

I seem to remember reading somewhere a rule about blowing one long when approaching a junction or manned station?

Note that today many crossings are 'silent' so there's no horn, maybe just a crossing bell. That would not be common (if done at all) in the OP's 1970s timeframe.

 

One long was used for approaching a station.  Many railroads had, and some may still have them, signs about one mile from the station.  Station meaning a point named in the time table as opposed to a building.  That was where the approaching station signal would be sounded.

I've seen on a video of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic train out of Chama approaching Cumbres station.  The train in the video was double headed.  The lead engine sounded one long (approaching station) and then three shorts (stop and next passenger station).  The helper engine also sounded three shorts in reply to the lead engine's signal.

Jeff

 

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