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International Railroad Discussion > Horn blowing


Date: 07/05/20 21:36
Horn blowing
Author: Guitartrain

I'm from Maryland, USA. I've been watching lots of cab ride videos on You Tube from all around the world. One thing that is very conspicuous is that the train driver rarely blows the horn at grade crossings, gated or not. Many of these trains are going well over 100 MPH. Why do they not blow the horn? Thanks.



Date: 07/06/20 10:20
Re: Horn blowing
Author: Hartington

I would ask a different question. Why do US engineers blow their horns? OK, I know it's the rules but are those rules valid? How many grade crossing accidents are avoided bacause of horn use? How soon before a train travelling at a low speed say 40mph can the horn be heard, particularly in an auto with the music on? How much less is the time when the train is running at 79mph?

The US rules may well be right for the US but I really don't see that the assumption it's valid elsewhere in the world is valid.



Date: 07/06/20 10:29
Re: Horn blowing
Author: PHall

Hartington Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I would ask a different question. Why do US
> engineers blow their horns? OK, I know it's the
> rules but are those rules valid? How many grade
> crossing accidents are avoided bacause of horn
> use? How soon before a train travelling at a low
> speed say 40mph can the horn be heard,
> particularly in an auto with the music on? How
> much less is the time when the train is running at
> 79mph?
>
> The US rules may well be right for the US but I
> really don't see that the assumption it's valid
> elsewhere in the world is valid.

Not just the US, it applies to all of North America. The US, Canada and Mexico.



Date: 07/06/20 10:31
Re: Horn blowing
Author: goneon66

i would THINK liability lawsuits play a large part in using train horns here............

66 



Date: 07/06/20 10:59
Re: Horn blowing
Author: PHall

goneon66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> i would THINK liability lawsuits play a large part
> in using train horns here............
>
> 66 

No, steam locomotives were blowing their whistles for crossings just like we do today.
And that was long, long before liability lawsuits.



Date: 07/06/20 12:15
Re: Horn blowing
Author: goneon66

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> goneon66 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > i would THINK liability lawsuits play a large
> part
> > in using train horns here............
> >
> > 66 
>
> No, steam locomotives were blowing their whistles
> for crossings just like we do today.
> And that was long, long before liability lawsuits.

this subject is dealing with CURRENT horn blowing rules in in the U.S.

it is obvious why trains would blow their horns at crossings not protected with electronic warning devices.

from what i understand, in this day and age, IF a municipality wants a "quiet zone" at a crossing protected with electronic warning devices, the liability is then placed on the municipality and NOT the railroad if there is an accident.

so, AGAIN in this day and age, i think part of the reason railroads blow their horns at crossings protected by electronic warning devices is because of the liability lawsuits............

66



 



Date: 07/06/20 14:28
Re: Horn blowing
Author: BobB

goneon66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> PHall Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > goneon66 Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > i would THINK liability lawsuits play a large
> > part
> > > in using train horns here............
> > >
> > > 66 
> >
> > No, steam locomotives were blowing their
> whistles
> > for crossings just like we do today.
> > And that was long, long before liability
> lawsuits.
>
> this subject is dealing with CURRENT horn blowing
> rules in in the U.S.
>
> it is obvious why trains would blow their horns at
> crossings not protected with electronic warning
> devices.
>
> from what i understand, in this day and age, IF a
> municipality wants a "quiet zone" at a crossing
> protected with electronic warning devices, the
> liability is then placed on the municipality and
> NOT the railroad if there is an accident.
>
> so, AGAIN in this day and age, i think part of the
> reason railroads blow their horns at crossings
> protected by electronic warning devices is because
> of the liability lawsuits............
>
> 66
>
>
It may also be the number of people who ignore the warning devices; a horn at least brings the nearness of a train directly to their attention and suggests how stupid it would be to go around the gates or ignore the flashing lights.  That isn't about lawsuits but about preventing collisions.



Date: 07/06/20 15:42
Re: Horn blowing
Author: SP4360

Horn blowing or not, idiots still go around or through gates and get hit. Ya can't fix stupid no matter how loud the horn is. Arresting nets from a carrier might work, but if dumbasses want to try and beat a train, they will try to find a way.

BobB Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> >
> It may also be the number of people who ignore the
> warning devices; a horn at least brings the
> nearness of a train directly to their attention
> and suggests how stupid it would be to go around
> the gates or ignore the flashing lights.  That
> isn't about lawsuits but about preventing
> collisions.



Date: 07/06/20 17:15
Re: Horn blowing
Author: Jeff

Horn signals are required by federal regulations.  A few exceptions like specially equipped quiet zones exist, in those there is still a horn but it is calibrated to only alert the immediate area of the crossing and is done by equipment installed on the crossing, not the train.  Jeff



Date: 07/07/20 02:24
Re: Horn blowing
Author: pennengineer

Jeff Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Horn signals are required by federal
> regulations.  A few exceptions like specially
> equipped quiet zones exist, in those there is
> still a horn but it is calibrated to only alert
> the immediate area of the crossing and is done by
> equipment installed on the crossing, not the
> train.  Jeff

My hypothesis: the U.S. has an above-average number of at-grade crossings and below-average train speeds and frequency of train services, thereby making the average driver far more used to encountering an "empty" or "safe" crossing than elsewhere in the world. In Europe and elsewhere, at-grade crossings are much rarer, train speeds are generally higher, services are more frequent, and a great number of grade crossings are manually monitored and/or actuated, thereby instilling a sense of "seriousness" with regard to the danger posed when drivers do encounter them.

Also bear in mind that in many countries outside of North America, there is a greater expectation that people look out for their own safety -- which depending on the country may be more due to the sense of personal responsibility in the populace and/or the value placed on human life in the culture.

I can't offer any evidence to back any of this up, but that's my impression as a well-travelled train rider.

I have actually had European friends ask me why there are always audible train horns/whistles in American film and TV productions -- the thought of constantly bombarding the citizenry with such noise is literally foreign to them (despite the preponderance of church bells).

Having grown up in the U.S., I actually miss the frequent sound of melodic multi-chime horns and whistles when I take train trips over here, but that's simply a nostalgia issue. And on overnight trains, it is more often rapid accelleration and braking over here rather than rough track or grade crossing signals that interrupt overnight train passengers' sleep.



Date: 07/07/20 05:24
Re: Horn blowing
Author: Bob3985

It is up to the engineer to plan how long to blow the horn/whistle so as to end the signal as they cross the road.
Another question is do you know where the 2 long 1 short and 1 long came from??
It was from England that this signal came from. That sequence was also the Morse Code for the letter "Q".
So they would blow that signal to make the public aware that the Queen was onboard.

Bob Krieger
Cheyenne, WY



Date: 07/07/20 08:37
Re: Horn blowing
Author: Jeff

Pennengineer makes a very good point about citizen awareness and resonsibility in Europe vs. in the US.  From visiting Switzerland and watching Swiss railway videos it is my feeling that the infrastructure on many European railroads promotes motorist safety at crossings better than here.  Crossings without both signals and movable barricades in Switzerland are few and far between.  Penn's point about train speeds and lengths "over there" makes great sense.  The motorists in Europe do not have to fear being held up for a long time by long slow trains so there is less motivation to try to cross ahead of the trains.  Jeff



Date: 07/15/20 12:45
Re: Horn blowing
Author: 86235

Bob3985 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It is up to the engineer to plan how long to blow
> the horn/whistle so as to end the signal as they
> cross the road.
> Another question is do you know where the 2 long 1
> short and 1 long came from??
> It was from England that this signal came from.
> That sequence was also the Morse Code for the
> letter "Q".
> So they would blow that signal to make the public
> aware that the Queen was onboard.
What did they do when we had a king?



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