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  • Topic: When to blow the whistle

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    • June 16, 2014 5:55 PM EDT

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      This has probably been asked before, but...

       

      When switching, how often does the engineer or fireman have to blow the whistle? Every time he changes direction (forward, reverse) or when the loco stops? And what about the bell? Does it ring the whole time the loco is in the yard or moving among the various sidings? 

    • June 16, 2014 9:53 PM EDT

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      I'm not an expert, but my understanding is every change in motion, including stopping.

       

      Also often the bell is on all the time, not sure it is a rule, and I understand rules vary between railroads.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

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    • June 16, 2014 10:11 PM EDT
      • Port Orchard, Washington
         
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      Joe Rusz said:

      This has probably been asked before, but...

       

      When switching, how often does the engineer or fireman have to blow the whistle? Every time he changes direction (forward, reverse) or when the loco stops? And what about the bell? Does it ring the whole time the loco is in the yard or moving among the various sidings? 

      I can quote the GCOR rule if you want real details, but in switching operations the whistle is not sounded every time the engine moves. A few dings on the bell are okay, but most people are lazy don't ring. Plus the crew on the ground will get mad if you blow and ding all the time. Now back with hand signs (no radio) a whistle would signal that the engineer received and understood the hand sign and was moving. I would imagine in preradio era's the switching yards were a lot noisier than they are today.

       

      I'd say 80-90% of the time when switching the bell/whistle are off. Road trains on the other hand tend to blow on start because they aren't making a lot of different moves.

    • June 17, 2014 12:53 AM EDT

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      Thanks, guys. Good info.

    • June 17, 2014 9:22 AM EDT
      • Nashville, IL
         
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      I can only refer to my experience with the local railroad, switching out the elevator in town...  All their coomunication is basically done by radio..   Horns are only used at the road crossings..  The bell very seldom rings...



    • June 17, 2014 9:55 AM EDT
      • Smoggy L.A., Left Coast
         
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      Modern horn signals, carry over from steam era.


      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Train_horn#United_States

       

      Steam whistle signals:


      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Train_whistle


      Bell was to be rung whenever the locomotive started movement, particularly in passenger stations. The bell was also to be rung when entering a station while slowing for a stop. Its original purpose was to warn people to get off the tracks.



      This post was edited by Vic Smith at June 17, 2014 10:05 AM EDT
      ____________________________________
      Have fun with your trains
    • June 17, 2014 11:27 AM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      It's not my job to run the train.
      The whistle I don't blow.
      It's not my job to say how far,
      the trains supposed to go.
      I'm not allowed to pull the brake,
      or even ring the bell.
      But let the damn thing leave the track,
      And see who catches hell!

      ____________________________________

      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • June 17, 2014 8:11 PM EDT
      • Ottawa/Nepean, Ontario, Canada
         
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      In model operations, after a while it gets to be a pain in the ear.....it seems nice but it isn't fun hearing the noise all the time.

       

        My suggestion is always...yes...just before your locomotive (With or without a train) moves; ring the bell, and sound the horn/whistle.

         While running on the main line, sound the horn/whistle at all crossings, and before occupying a bridge or tunnel

       

         When approaching a siding, occupied by another working crew....sound your Whistle/horn, and ring the bell, as a warning of your approach. 

       

         This  preprogrammed crap is boring, and just crap (My opinion) Any sound system on a locomotive, should have a "Latching" bell control, and a single button for the horn/whistle, which can be "Played" like a real one...

       

        Of course some may differ on these thoughts, and may appreciate other ideas.

      This post was edited by Fred Mills. at June 17, 2014 8:12 PM EDT
    • June 17, 2014 8:20 PM EDT
      • Southern Illinois
         
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      On the prototypes, I believe there is a certain amount of pre-programed bell ringing at certain speeds and when the whistle is blown.  Lights flash at a pre-programed speed or whistle designations.  Model operation is sometimes mimicking the prototype and sometimes the other way around.  ;-)  

    • June 17, 2014 8:37 PM EDT

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      Bruce, love the poem. It applies to much more than railroads.


      Fred, my bell and whistle can be latched, if desired. And while I can acutate the whistle on demand, ya can't "play" it, making the sound rise and fall like it does on the preprogrammed setup. My Phoenix orginally had the programmed system (bell, whistle, blowoff, brake squeal, etc), but when I had it reprogrammed for manual operation, they got rid of that. 

    • June 17, 2014 8:51 PM EDT
      • Chelmsford, MA
         
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      On the C&TS the whistle is blown each time movement starts of stops.

      In the yard when switching they tend to use very short and not very loud signals.

      For example when moving forward two very short whistle signals are used rather then the 2 long blasts.

      The most common whistle signal used is a long followed by a short which is used as a warning signal when views are obstructed or when passing a yellow flag.  

      We try to use similar signals on the SJR&P but many operators tend to skip many of them.

      Stan   

             

    • June 17, 2014 9:02 PM EDT
      • San Diego , CA
         
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      Joe,

      I worked on the D&SNG for 6 seasons which I believe follows D&RGW practice pretty closely. On that RR, the engineer blows the whistle or horn whenever the locomotive is about to move, two short for forward, three shorts for reverse. The fireman rings the bell whenever the engine is about to move or when moving along a passenger platform or an occupied passenger train. These whistles are blown softer but are warning signals and let the crew know on the ground instructions were understood and what to expect. After a train is made up, a terminal brake test was down before departing. The train crew would give a set air signal and the engineer would respond after a ten pound brake pipe reduction was made with one short whistle. After the crew walked the train and insured all the brakes were set and there was a ten pound reduction on the rear of the train, they would signal to release the air and the engineer would respond with two longs. The crew would walk the train again to insure all the brakes were released and there was 90 pounds on the rear. When the highball was received, bell on, two shorts (which might sound like two longs) and the train is under way. Within in a short distance, the engineer would perform a rolling brake test by making a ten pound set a whistling one short. The rear brakeman would insure there was a ten pound set on the rear of the train and signal a highball with a hand/hat/time table in the air. The engineer would respond with two shorts (I understand) and continue on.

      One of the things that was interesting about working on the D&SNG was that still operate with traditional rules. We carried radios but used them very little to control train movements and primarily only used hand and whistle signals. The railroad still uses flagmen, torpedoes and fuses to control distance between trains when necessary.

      Patrick
    • June 17, 2014 9:16 PM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Fred Mills, BSc, BS, SD said:

      In model operations, after a while it gets to be a pain in the ear.....it seems nice but it isn't fun hearing the noise all the time.

       

        My suggestion is always...yes...just before your locomotive (With or without a train) moves; ring the bell, and sound the horn/whistle.

         While running on the main line, sound the horn/whistle at all crossings, and before occupying a bridge or tunnel

       

         When approaching a siding, occupied by another working crew....sound your Whistle/horn, and ring the bell, as a warning of your approach. 

       

         This  preprogrammed crap is boring, and just crap (My opinion) Any sound system on a locomotive, should have a "Latching" bell control, and a single button for the horn/whistle, which can be "Played" like a real one...

       

        Of course some may differ on these thoughts, and may appreciate other ideas.

      Fred, yes I do agree, after a while it can become just noise. One of the things that contributes to that is the fact that some ;) operators like to crank the volume all the way up. I run my volume low. I feel that I shouldnt hear the chuffs when the locomotive isnt in sight. Since the sound on my locomotives doesnt have seperate volume controls for each sound, that usually means I barely hear the whistle or bell is the locomotive isnt in sight.

       

      When doing the train shows, I try to signal when apropriate, and on my HO DCC decoders I can play the sounds. But after a few hours of it I tend to get lazy and forgo the sounds. The thing with model set ups is that we have to sound warnings a lot more frequently then the 1:1 guys, since our distances between everything are shorter.

      ____________________________________

      Shannon car Shops
      Home of the infamous leg lamp

      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

      and King Butt Modeler

    • June 18, 2014 12:15 AM EDT

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      Fascinating stuff. Thanks gang.


      Patrick, reading about operations on the D&SNG was very interesting. I rode that line once, in late December, so we went only half way to Silverton. A few years later, I did Chama to Antonito and back (overnighting in Antonito) on the C&T's photo freight. Quite an experience. I love Colorado NG.

    • June 18, 2014 3:24 PM EDT

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      Ditto Fred... my sound systems allow me to remotely control the volume at any time, so demo it loud... let it run for a while at a lower volume while consuming scotch and smoking cigars, and then go back to playing, maybe at higher volumes. The ability to remotely tweak the volume is a great thing.

      Fred Mills, BSc, BS, SD said:

      In model operations, after a while it gets to be a pain in the ear.....it seems nice but it isn't fun hearing the noise all the time.

       

        My suggestion is always...yes...just before your locomotive (With or without a train) moves; ring the bell, and sound the horn/whistle.

         While running on the main line, sound the horn/whistle at all crossings, and before occupying a bridge or tunnel

       

         When approaching a siding, occupied by another working crew....sound your Whistle/horn, and ring the bell, as a warning of your approach. 

       

         This  preprogrammed crap is boring, and just crap (My opinion) Any sound system on a locomotive, should have a "Latching" bell control, and a single button for the horn/whistle, which can be "Played" like a real one...

       

        Of course some may differ on these thoughts, and may appreciate other ideas.

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • June 18, 2014 7:13 PM EDT

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      What are your sound systems, Greg?



    • June 19, 2014 12:19 AM EDT

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      Mostly QSI, that has the very controllable volume, and a mute level adjust, and brakes that actually brake the loco, etc.

       

      Some Zimo, and in other scales ESU, CT Elektronik, etc.

       

      I had some soundtraxx, but just too touchy on track voltage, and reset often.

       

      The QSI has given me the most bang for the buck, and I was involved in the development and features, but they are really over the top in capability.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • July 7, 2014 11:37 PM EDT

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      When Continuously switching we don't use the horn, just occasionally on line of road.  This is all dependent on who the engineer is, where you are, and who the RFE or TM is.

       

        As far as CSX power when the horn is sounded for a crossing the bell automatically sounds and the ditch lights flash.  No more than 20 secs before the crossing and no less than 15 I think, and is long long short long( last long until the head end covers the crossing) 

       

      Also supposed to use the horn when passing stopped equipment or car knockers or MOW employees are working.

    • July 8, 2014 11:57 AM EDT
      • Bremerton, Washington
         
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      Yes, Ryan that is correct crossing signel!  Steamers also, got to ride down the hill from Minerial Yard to Elbe, where in Washington last Saturday!  Another check on the Bucket List.  And it was HOT as we were in Hammond Lumber No. 17, an ALCO 2-8-2 Tank and there is not allot of room in the cab.  Standing between the boiler back head and the fuel tank.  And hand on!  As the trackage is not the best.

       

      Paul

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