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 Post subject: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 9:01 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3816
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
There's just no pleasing some people.

https://www.durangoherald.com/articles/ ... to-others/


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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 9:04 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3816
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
I would like to know how, at least for the steam engines, the same whistles, on the same engines, operating at the same boiler pressure, can be louder than before. As far as I know, it's not like someone changed any of those things.

Now, if they are making noises about the diesels, that might be kind of understandable. Part of that is that the diesels are new to Durango and aren't familiar. A big part would also be that diesel horns just don't sound the same. As a steam fan, they don't sound anywhere near as pleasant as steam.

I think it has to do with "timbre." That's a musical term, and I understand it refers to the sound that identifies an instrument. It's what makes a violin sound like a violin, a pipe organ like a pipe organ, a piano like a piano.

Steam whistles can almost sing. Listen to recordings of trains on the East Broad Top, or for that matter, at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, and their beloved Southern 4501--

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qb5skTdvLvw


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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 10:22 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 2278
Location: Strasburg, PA
Could be that all of the electric cars are so quiet that they make the trains seem louder...


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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 10:46 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 6314
J3a-614 wrote:
There's just no pleasing some people.

https://www.durangoherald.com/articles/ ... to-others/


According to the complaining lady in the story in the Durango Herald, she is quoted as saying "the horn is disturbing the peace and quiet". She said horn, not whistle. As pointed out in the comments, the whistles are the same. Sounds as if she is complaining about the noise of the diesels.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 10:47 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 1208
Location: Philadelphia, PA
It was a well-written article. The reporter even cited the 49 CFR paragraph on whistles/horns.

Earlier this month, the Governer of NJ was doing a call-in show and a caller from the North Jersey Coast asked about ther loudness of the train horns. She even knew it was a K5LA. The Guv said he would refer it to NJT and get back to her.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:04 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 10888
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Metal whistles can and do abrade in the steam and/or get out of adjustment over time; ditto air horns. It is possible to adjust a whistle to a different pressure or re-cut the languid plate to change the sound or performance.

I once witnessed the recalibration (for want of a better word for it) on a PRR passenger whistle that was being used at a shop/factory very near the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona, right around the official grand opening of the Museum. It went from a weak, anemic too to a full-throated howl in just a couple hours.

Similarly, I saw a readjustment of my home town's fire department air horn, a three-chime Westinghouse used in lieu of the usual siren. It went from a weakened honk that could be heard well a half-mile away to a deafening blast that could be heard over two miles away--on the same pressure.

Steam and diesel CAN be made to sound alike. The late Bill Howes had a custom steam whistle made for the Chessie Steam Special (later used on 614/Safety Express) matching the sound and chord of the then-new Nathan K5LA air horn. When the EMDs with the K5LAs had variable-pressure whistle valves and the right engineer was on the handle, it was said the two were indistinguishable at any distance.


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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 9:38 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:37 pm
Posts: 1244
Location: Pacific, MO
Well, they could put PRR Banshee whistles or British peanut whistles on them
Every time I hear about people moving from one place to another and then try to make the new place as screwed up as the old place, it makes my blood boil.
The RR was there a LONG time before you showed up. Shoulda moved elsewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 10:00 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:41 pm
Posts: 158
A hollow complaint with no real substance that will dissolve in a few weeks' time.

*Yawn*

What else is new?


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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 11:27 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 914
Location: Warren, PA
The HRA conference up in Connecticut had a very interesting presentation about 'relationships with the neighbors' for the Essex railroad. And it included whistle noise.

While a railroad must blow the whistle, there's also a regulation on what the decibel level has to be. Essex related that they did actual decibel testing on their whistles and horns in the field at distances and found out that yes, they could exceed the decibel level significantly if they leaned on it, and yes, there were 'specific' crewmembers that tested out louder than others.

That seemed like a common sense approach to a vexing problem. I even have a decibel meter now on my iphone, so it's not hard to check. Check the noise level with some actual testing; you have to be compliant, but yes, it's possible to actually be louder than you have to be, and maybe not just heresay.

If nothing else, you can counter complaints with some factual data. And we know, even as enthusiasts, that the relative sound of a horn (or whistle) can vary from musically pleasing to annoying racket, given the right set of circumstances and condition.

I'm in the market for the Buffalo Bills, and if you watch their games, they CONSTANTLY blow what sounds like a Nathan during the game on third downs (it's a locomotive horn and they are proud of it), and it's loud enough that it's got complaints from visiting teams, neighbors, etc. and that's the point, I suspect.
https://youtu.be/Rmm4lmpNcXA
And it's not just the FRA that can get you on horns, the NFL is after you as well:
https://youtu.be/hBdc9AHx3g0


Last edited by Randy Gustafson on Fri Sep 23, 2022 11:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 11:31 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 10888
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Donald Cormack wrote:
A hollow complaint with no real substance that will dissolve in a few weeks' time.

*Yawn*

What else is new?


I think that's what was said about people complaining about:
1) The Adirondack Scenic RR, and
2) The Durango & Silverton being a wildfire risk.

Ignore at your peril.


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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 3:22 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 1:45 am
Posts: 365
Location: Skagway, Alaska
I agree that it was a well written article. Everyone that was interviewed from the railroad knows exactly what they’re talking about, and I’m pretty sure the woman that was interviewed is also quite popular with the complaint department at the newspaper.

You’d be surprised how many people pull out in front of the train coming into town. The trains are 15 cars long at most, and I’ve never understood the impatience.

_________________
This is the end of my post.


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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 5:09 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2022 8:56 am
Posts: 21
Former horn and whistle foamer here with my unscientific $0.02.

After 30+ years of opinions from fellow enthusiasts and people who don't know squat, about all I can say for certain is that whistles and horns can be equally obnoxious on an individual basis, but the NIMBY types generally seem to object to two things in particular: how often the warning device is used, and how loud it is. Those two things are are - mostly - objective. Subjectively, if the signal sounds more like a toad retching rather than a pleasant chord from a musical instrument it will make a difference, but by-and-large, I have found that complaints usually center on how often someone has to hear it, and how many dB's they have to deal with each time around.

Historically, high-pitched signals seem to irritate people more than lower-pitched ones, be it in railroading or marine service. I have heard the same thing from both working rails and Joe Sixpack; I'm not a physicist or a physician, so I don't know why. Beyond that, I still don't -and don't want to - understand why X thinks that a Nathan M5 is the best horn ever and everything else sucks, while Y doesn't seem to even notice a tonal difference between any two given noisemakers. Humans are weird.

For a long time, the goal was ever more "efficient" (read: "louder") railroad horns (transit and commuter operations aside), and the loudness apogee of the Leslie and Nathan horns (the RS Supertyfons and Model K's) may have shown the limits of loudness "up with which the public shall put." Once the powers that be put a cap on the dB's from locomotive horns the goalposts were no longer in the same place and all that power needed to be modulated.

(A bit like restrictor plates on Hemis by NASCAR decree.)

I was once asked if I could supply a horn for an industrial locomotive that was acceptable to local "complainers" and still be a safety device, and I found a solution to that particular situation. As the horn was later stolen, I have no idea how it would have held up in the long term.


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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 7:07 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 1171
Years ago, when I was growing up along the Reading's Bethlehem branch in Pennsylvania, I noticed that the Alco RS-3's used on most of the 13 daily passenger trains sounded softer in town and louder in the country. I asked the engineer on the daily "Dutch Local" freight about that one day. He invited me up into the cab, where he showed me two horn valves side by side, one labeled "Soft" and the other "Loud." He then demonstrated them both, and the Nathan M-3 was quite mellow on Soft and pretty commanding with Loud. I've never seen one, but I understand some whistle valves had a detent that provided soft and loud sound. Seriously!


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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 9:30 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2798
J3a-614 wrote:
I would like to know how, at least for the steam engines, the same whistles, on the same engines, operating at the same boiler pressure, can be louder than before. As far as I know, it's not like someone changed any of those things.

Now, if they are making noises about the diesels, that might be kind of understandable. Part of that is that the diesels are new to Durango and aren't familiar. A big part would also be that diesel horns just don't sound the same. As a steam fan, they don't sound anywhere near as pleasant as steam.


I agree, it's the diesels. The loco residents don't know, or care, which is which. But the noise isn't as pleasant as it was, and it's louder. So they're whining.


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 Post subject: Re: First Smoke, Now Complaints About Whistles in Durango.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 9:56 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2022 8:56 am
Posts: 21
G. W. Laepple wrote:
I've never seen one, but I understand some whistle valves had a detent that provided soft and loud sound. Seriously!


The various different restrictors and orifice tubes that the air horn manufacturers use(d) made a noteable difference between otherwise identical models, as does the diaphragm material. But the easy button was the use of a valve or valves (plural) that could vary the air flow.

The idea of having a "town" cord and a "country" cord took many forms. I think the first attempt was using two separate valves, one having a small orifice somewhere in the line to restrict airflow; at least one semi-popular valve was basically two separate valves combined in one body, each being pulled by its own handle. When the horn valves were later mounted on control stands and such, the two-stage valves like the modulating Vilocos and the 'metered" Graham-White/Salems did away with the need for separate cords and handles, allowing a partial pull of the handle to give less airflow, and a complete pull to give a full airflow. A lot of engineers found that the modulating Viloco valve was easier to control than the G-W valves that ultimately replaced them (before the world went to pushbutton actuation of magnet valves).

Some years ago, I removed the horn valve setup out of a scrapped SD7 or 9 that had two Viloco non-modulating valves plumbed into a lot of pipe, tubing and tees; one of the valves had no restrictions downwind, the other had a 1/8" orifice downwind. Some locomotives nowadays have a modulating capability through the use of two separate magnet valves on a common "manifold," achieving the same result as 60 years ago, but with the push of a button rather than the pull of a cord.

Better living through... something.


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