Trains.com

A few questions about locomotive bells.

583 views
2 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2021
  • 14 posts
A few questions about locomotive bells.
Posted by FanOfTheRail on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 2:35 PM

I have a few questions about locomotive bells. First question, why do some bells start ringing very fast in cold weather but ring normally otherwise? I've noticed this mainly with EMD steel bells on locomotives. Second question, why do some mechanical bells, when turned on, make two quick rings at first, but then ring normally after those two rings? Third question, why do some bells ring at an inconsistent rate (I have noticed the bell on Milwaukee Road F7A 118-C at Illinois Railway Musuem is inconsistent, it sometimes rings quickly, sometimes rings slowly.) Thank you.

~FanOfTheRail

  • Member since
    June 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
  • 5,041 posts
Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 7:28 PM

The clapper in a Diesel locomotive bell is powered by compressed air.   The clapper has a device that regulates compressed air to the clapper to get it to swing into the sides of the bell.    I am no mechanical engineer myself but my guess is the device regulating the compressed air like any compressed air valve gets worn over time or partially clogged with grime or grease or whatever.    Probably impacts it's strike timing...........thats my guess.

  • Member since
    April 2021
  • 14 posts
Posted by FanOfTheRail on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 8:13 AM

Okay, thanks for the answer. Also, if I had to make a guess at the second question, the two quick rings are probably caused because the air line going to the bell is not fully pressurized because the air is just beginning to flow into it. Because there isn't much air, it might not be able to lift the hammer back far enough, and it will ring faster because there is less distance to travel before striking the bell? This is just a theory.  

~FanOfTheRail

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy