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Date: 12/12/12 08:47
Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: santafe199

As a career railroader I always took safety seriously. All kinds! It's an attitude the railroad industry has learned, through trial & error over the decades, to
instill into all of its employees. And it's an attitude all railroad employees need to keep front & center as they go about their daily jobs. I was blessed in the
fact that I was never involved in a fatality accident at any time in my career. But I have had my share of close calls at railroad crossings. So RR crossing safety
& awareness was always at or near the top of my 'subconscious list' during my average day at work. "Safety First"... a wonderful slogan that says it all!

Train & engine horns, whistles & bells have been in constant scrutiny since the very first tea kettle made its first unsteady trek down that rickety new track. The
sound that a train makes has been the subject of countless outpourings of human sentiment whether it's because of that romantic echo wafting across the fields on
a moonlit evening, or indeed that 'damn noise' at 3 in the morning when a person is trying to sleep! The technology behind the sound a train makes has undergone a
constant evolution, which I'll touch on next.

With all due respect stated in my first paragraph above, I just have to poke a wee bit of fun at modern technology! These images were taken in Axtell, KS. Axtell
is located on the old Marysville, KS-St. Joseph, MO branch that was commonly nicknamed "The Joe Branch". This line has been upgraded between Marysville & Hiawatha,
KS and is now part of the westward directional mainline between Kansas City & Marysville. It was here in Axtell that I got my first taste of the new "modern" train
horn technology. Having been on this line a couple of times previous I had learned to anticipate chasing the afternoon fleet and was scouting out some locations.
I settled upon this location at 4th St. in Axtell and like a big game hunter waited for my prey...

Aha! The sound of a horn is wafting in from across the countryside to the east! I've got my tripod aimed & ready. A distant headlight appears. And the first horn...
wait a sec! That's not what I just heard from the countryside! OMG, what happened? I'm hearing some tortured cacophony of noise that's getting louder as the train
spans a few crossings, getting closer to mine. I try to concentrate on my shot. THEN, from over my shoulder I hear the mechanical roar of what surely is a recording
of a whole herd of sick mooses on steroids!!! (or is that meeses?) This audible disease is crashing down upon me from behind and the train is still in FRONT of me!

I got my shot and finally put 2 & 2 together. I broke into laughter, then I nervously glanced around to see if anybody had witnessed my reaction to this catastrophe.
I guess the modern RR engineer has had yet 1 more piece of his job stolen away by modern mechanical technology.
Casey Jones has got to be rolling in his grave...

1. 2. & 3. Modern RR crossing apparatus at 4th St in Axtell, KS on October 4, 2011.

Thanks for stopping, looking & listening (& not laughing hysterically)!
Lance Garrels
santafe199



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/12 08:48 by santafe199.








Date: 12/12/12 08:58
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: davebb71

great story lance. can you tell us what the red "X" is for? what dictates these type of warning systems to be installed? the city? the railroad? TIA, dave, out.



Date: 12/12/12 09:11
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: trainjunkie

The "X box" tells the crew on the approaching train that the crossing warning system is functioning correctly. If no "X" is displayed, liberal use of the horn is in order.



Date: 12/12/12 09:16
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: santafe199

trainjunkie Wrote:

> The "X box" tells the crew on the approaching
> train that the crossing warning system is
> functioning correctly. If no "X" is displayed,
> liberal use of the horn is in order.

Well Dave, there's part of your answer. As for the parameters of "what, where & why", I have no idea.
I just know (now) to be on the lookout for a sick moose...

;^)



Date: 12/12/12 09:17
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: up833

This type of warning keeps the "horn" noise in one central location for drivers and not a quarter mile down the track. Supposed to be less annoying for those living in the area.
Roger B



Date: 12/12/12 09:49
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: PHall

The speakers focus the sound at the crossings vs the general neighborhood.
It's supposed to reduce the noise pollution from the grade crossings.
At least, that's what they told us when UP installed this system here in Riverside, CA.



Date: 12/12/12 09:58
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: P5r24

Mean while,

Nathan horn founder Robert Swanson is turning over in his Grave.


Gary




Date: 12/12/12 10:04
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: imrl

davebb71 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> can you tell us what the red
> "X" is for? what dictates these type of warning
> systems to be installed? the city? the railroad?
> TIA, dave, out.


When the system is activated and working properly, the "X" will flash. They are very easy to see even in daylight. The railroad (or a contractor) did the installation, but at the city's expense. There are similar installations on he Hiawatha Subdivison at Seneca and Sabetha to the east.



Date: 12/12/12 10:25
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: switchlock

Didn't Marysville (KS) have the first generation of these things? Last time I was through there, the speaker boxes were still on the poles where the grade crossings used to be. It was REALLY odd to hear that moose call when one the steam locos was coming through. Talk about something that is morally wrong!



Date: 12/12/12 10:47
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: imrl

Yes, Marysville did have a similar system. When they removed the tracks from town, that system didn't have a use anymore. There was always rumor that Seneca bought the system from Marysville but I have no proof of that. They did eventually put up the system as pictures here several years later. The system in Marysville had been in place long before I started with the railroad. I hadn't noticed that there was still some evidence left. I haven't been up there in a few months. I'll have to look and see if I can still see it.



Date: 12/12/12 10:57
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: Evan_Werkema

I'm not in a position to say whether blowing the 14L on a locomotive airhorn at every crossing every time is of benefit or not, but I've never understood the logic behind crossing-mounted (aka "wayside") horns. The studies they did when these were introduced showed that some percentage of the time, the wayside horn was the first thing motorists noticed that indicated the crossing protection was activated. That would be useful if most grade crossing accidents resulted from motorists plowing into the side of trains because they failed to notice that the gates were down and the lights were flashing (gates and lights are required at wayside horn installations). However, my impression is that that's NOT the primary reason motorists get hit by trains. Most grade crossing accidents seem to result from people choosing to ignore the activated crossing protection (gates, lights, bell, etc.) and entering the crossing anyway, or stopping on the crossing because of stopped traffic ahead and getting "trapped" when the gates go down. Adding a wayside horn doesn't add anything in either of those circumstances. It's just another static reminder that the crossing protection is activated, same as the crossing bell, lights, and gates. A horn on a locomotive does add something. While the wayside crossing protection indicates that a train might be coming from somewhere soon, a horn on a locomotive indicates that a train IS coming, from THIS direction, RIGHT NOW!

The only function of wayside horns as far as I can tell is noise reduction for the neighbors. I just don't see how they add anything to the safety side of the equation.

Roseville, CA got some wayside horns in the late 90's at the three crossings east of town heading for Donner Pass. The audio clip and still photo in the "video" below is from one of those installations.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/12 10:59 by Evan_Werkema.

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Date: 12/12/12 11:21
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: davebb71

thanks for the answers so far. to completely understand this, are these no train whistle grade crossings? 24/7 or just daytime? do these grade crossings also have the center median barriers installed? and lastly this is only on Uncle Pete or do other class 1's have them? TIA dave, out.



Date: 12/12/12 11:23
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: MaximumRails

Ames, IA used to have the Automatic Horn System all through town, but throughout many troubles and malfunctions, the system was removed, and it is now just a Quiet Zone.



Date: 12/12/12 11:43
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: P5r24

And ironically,

all the wayside spreaker horns seem to voice the sound of the Leslie L chord-
B inverted 7th or notes B,D#,A -
heard on all RS-3L and S-3L series Leslie 3 chime horns.

John Leslie is Laughing in his grave.....

Gary

(Leslie RS-3L-R shown posing in beautiful Santa Susana Ca)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/12 11:45 by P5r24.






Date: 12/12/12 12:43
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: imrl

davebb71 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> thanks for the answers so far. to completely
> understand this, are these no train whistle grade
> crossings? 24/7 or just daytime?

24-7

> do these grade
> crossings also have the center median barriers
> installed?

No. Just an otherwise normal 2 lane street with lights and gates.

> and lastly this is only on Uncle Pete
> or do other class 1's have them? TIA dave, out.

I would assume that other railroads would have similar installations but I have not seen any.



Date: 12/12/12 12:48
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: qnyla

Flagstaff, AZ on the BNSF transcon also has a couple crossings with this setup.



Date: 12/12/12 14:08
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: Evan_Werkema

Quiet zone (no train horn) locations: http://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L02619

FRA index page about train horn rules: http://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0104

49CFR222.59 specifically about wayside horns: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=ae6f756c05ead3c50fabf0840c823355&rgn=div6&view=text&node=49:4.1.1.1.17.3&idno=49#49:4.1.1.1.17.3.14.17

Fact sheets from the folks who make these things:
http://ctcinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Wayside-Horn-11.05.12-hi-res.pdf
http://www.quietzonetech.com/index.php?q=content/automated-horn-system%E2%84%A2

Wayside horns at crossings are not a requirement for establishing quiet zones.



Date: 12/12/12 16:21
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: wingomann

Tualatin, Oregon has them on the line used by the Tri-Met WES commuter. What's wierd is that they usually go through the 2 longs, a short and a long twice before the train gets there. So at the intersection there is double the noise.



Date: 12/12/12 20:08
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: garr

Just think, 50 years from now there will be railfans showing wrist band generated, holographic projected images of their electronic crossing horns on the intergalactic web for all to enjoy. Today it is hard to imagine anyone being amazed by a pointless pyramid on a pole, but there will be someones collecting them in the future.

BTW, not knocking anyone here as I too love the current loco horns, just amazed at the diversity in this hobby and hoping it continues well into the future.

Jay



Date: 12/13/12 12:12
Re: Not exactly a Nathan 5-chime...
Author: octrax

Dang! Those engineers can't "toot their own horn" anymore!! :- (



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