AltoonaWorks.info Special Feature
Train Horns

Note: We have no horns for sale and all were acquired legally.
These horns are available for loan to local shortlines upon request.
Would love to own an H5 or even an H6 someday.

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Notable Train Horn Resources

5-Chime Consultants LocomotiveHorns.info Precision Parts NW


Featuring Train Horns in Our Collection
Photo Looking Inside Brief Comments Audio Years Produced Where on NS
PRR GG1 Signal Line Whistle
This six inch whistle was found in the cab of the PRR GG1 electric. It was used as the signal whistle where a crewperson could signal the engineer to stop or go etc. It's possible this small whistle was home-made in the PRR Juniata Shops.
Home Shop Audio 1930s-40s n/a
Hancock 4700 Air Whistle
Hancock was a major manufacturer of steam whistles. They marketed this air whistle but it was soon discovered that they just aren't loud enough when traveling at speed. Two of Conrail's E8s wore Hancock air whistles in the 70s and 80s. They fell out of use and you're unlikely to find one in use on anything other than a museum piece.
Shop Air Audio
Shop Air Video
RTM M-25 Video
late 50s - late 60s n/a
Leslie A-125-247-PB
This all-bronze A-125 dates to the 1950s. A-125s also came in aluminum. This particular horn comes from one of the Milwaukee Road's Hiawatha Locomotives.
Shop Air Audio 1930s - 1950s n/a
Leslie A-200-LP
This all-bronze A-200 likely dates to the 1940s. A-200-LP is the pre-1950 designation for the A-200-156. I got this horn, not so much because they were used on the PRR GG1 (this one likely was not), but more for its rich, low pitch sound. This horn weighs 50 lbs. You're not likely to see an A-200 in use today except on a museum piece.
Shop Air Audio
Shop Air Video
RTM M-25 Video
EBT M-7 Video
Skip to 1:15.
1930s - 1950s n/a
Leslie RS-31
Over the course of several months I pieced this single chime SuperTyphon together and painted it to represent the single note horns that were once on Conrail switchers. Those single note horns used the Leslie 25 and 31 bells. The 31 bell came from the Everett Railroad and the other two major parts came from parts available from collectors online. I was looking for a S power chamber, but they're harder to find; so I settled on an RS.
Shop Air Audio 1960s - 1970s n/a
Leslie RS-3L
For me growing up with Conrail, this horn screams "freight train." Union Pacific and BNSF were also users, but all Leslies have fallen out of favor and their numbers are quickly dwindling on Class Ones. This particular horn is from NS 3812 which was scrapped by Cresson Steel and sounds great after new gaskets were installed. The 'RS' power chambers give this horn a distictive squeal when starting to blow.
Shop Air Audio
Shop Air Video
1970s - Present Most unrebuilt former Conrail engines
Leslie S-5T
Known as the "King of Horns" because of its deep, commanding, and haunting tone, this horn is rare on class ones today and getting replaced with Nathans. Built in 1956, this particular horn has the original style tab-back power chambers that do not produce the squeal that the 'RS' chambers are known for.
Shop Air Audio
RTM M-25 Video
1951 - 1970s n/a
Leslie RS-5T
Known as the "King of Horns" because of its deep, commanding, and haunting tone, this horn is getting rare on class ones today and getting replaced with Nathans. The 'RS' power chambers give this horn a distictive squeal when starting to blow.
Shop Air Audio
Shop Air Video
RTM M-25 Video
1970s - Present A few SD40Es, SD60Es, some former NW engines, and a few Dash9s
Nathan/AirChime MS1
The MS1 is the single note version of the M-series airhorns. You're not likely to find many of these around in regular service or even on museum equipment. The M series fell out of favor with the railroads because they're labor intensive.
Home Shop Audio 1952 - 1980s n/a
Nathan/AirChime M3R1T
This is rare variation of the M3. It was developed for use on Deleware & Hudson RS3s with the 2 and 4 bells facing forward and the tilted 1 bell facing backward at an angle to clear the cab roof. This horn was supposedly from a New York Central ALCO, but I suspect that's not correct. The M series fell out of favor with the railroads because they're labor intensive. They have to be voiced and in order to reverse bells, one basically has to disassemble the entire horn.
Shop Air Audio 1952 - 1980s n/a
Nathan/AirChime M5
The M5 is probably the most sought-after horns among collectors for its melodic tone. The Southern was a big user of the M5 and the Rockhill Trolley Museum's Mack gas-electric also had one for a time. The M series was replaced by the easier-to-maintain K series and you're unlikely to find them in use on anything but museum equipment. This particular M5 dates to the 70s and was previously on an Amtrak unit according to the previous owner. The M series fell out of favor with the railroads because they're labor intensive. They have to be voiced and in order to reverse bells, one basically has to disassemble the entire horn.
Shop Air Audio
Shop Air Video
RTM M-25 Video
1951 - 1980s n/a
Nathan/AirChime P5 (old cast)
Designed as a "low maintenance" alternative to the M5, the P5 sounds the same chord but with a brassier tone, especially the 'new cast' versions. As mentioned, there are two styles: old cast which blows the correct notes (Pat. Pending), and new cast (Pat. Pend.) (post 1976-77) which may or may not blow the correct notes. New-cast P horns typically squeal. On the right I have links to audio recordings of my old cast P5 and a new cast P5 owned by the Everett RR.
Home Shop Audio
New Cast Audio
RTM M-25 Video
19xx - Present Most anything, especially former Southern units and road slugs
Nathan/AirChime K3HA
Union Pacific was a big user of the K3HAs on new power until it was replaced by the K3HL and K5 variants recently. This horn would sound the same as a K3LA, as the 'H' just means it uses the high profile manifold.
Shop Air Audio 1977 - Present Some SD70ACUs
Nathan/AirChime K5LA
I purchased this horn brand new in 2007 and call it my "baby." While it may be a 'new' cast, my opinion is that it sounds great and has a very commanding tone. The set of debris covers is also brand new and was added in 2012. The 'raised letter' K horns began being made in 2007, first with the single-piece 1L bell, then the rest of them. Around 2014-15, new K backcaps came out that say Nathan Airchime instead of just Airchime.
Shop Air Audio
EBT M-7 Video
Skip to 0:20.
1975 - Present The most common horn on NS and the USA, can be found on almost everything in various forms
Nathan/AirChime K5LLA
The 'raised letter' K horns began being made in 2007, first with the single-piece 1L bell, then the rest of them. Around 2014-15, new K backcaps came out that say Nathan Airchime instead of just Airchime.
NS 1021 (blt 3/2011) and NS 1141 (blt 11/2014) both confirmed to have 1L/1/2/3A/4A. NS 4001 confirmed to have 1L/1/2/3A/4A (arranged like a K5LA) post wreck repair.
Shop Air Audio
RTM M-25 Video
EBT M-7 Video
Skip to 4:03.
2004 - Present SD70ACes plus a few random units
Westinghouse DD-5
My first "train horn," this is the original horn off what was to become the Mt. Union Connecting Railroad's motive power. The DD-5 is a small horn that was common on industrial locomotives, track maintenance equipment, and even trucks.
Shop Air Audio
n/a
Westinghouse A-2
Another early addition to my horn collection is this Wabco A-2. These were usually used on industrial locomotives and sometimes first generation diesel switchers.
Home Shop Audio n/a
Westinghouse E-2
This horn is believed to be from a New York Central ALCO. The E-2 was popular on first generation power like the A-200, but not quite as popular. Also like the A-200, it fell out of use in favor of three and five chime horns. Finding an E-2 still in use today on anything other than a museum piece would be rare.
Shop Air Audio
RTM M-25 Video
1940s-? n/a
Westinghouse E-2B-1
An early multi-chime Westinghouse horn, the E-2B-1 is actually three separate single note horns mounted on a special manifold. Never catching on, the E-2B-1 is fairly rare these days and you're extremely unlikely to find one in service other than a museum piece. Early versions of this horn, like this one shown here, used an E-2 with two B-6 horns while the remainder use the newer B-7s in place of the B-6s. Made of mostly cast iron with some aluminum, this E-2B-1 weighs 74 lbs.
Shop Air Audio
EBT M-7 Video
Skip to 2:55.
1940s-? n/a
In addition to the above in my personal collection:
I've cared for and reconditioned horns for the East Broad Top, Everett RR, and Rockhill Trolley Museum.

CFR 229.129 Locomotive horn

		(a) Each lead locomotive shall be equipped with a locomotive horn that produces a minimum sound level of 96 dB(A) and a maximum sound level of 110 dB(A) at 100 feet forward of the
		locomotive in its direction of travel. The locomotive horn shall be arranged so that it can be conveniently operated from the engineer's usual position during operation of the locomotive.

		(b)

			(1) Each locomotive built on or after September 18, 2006 shall be tested in accordance with this section to ensure that the horn installed on such locomotive is in compliance
			with paragraph (a) of this section. Locomotives built on or after September 18, 2006 may, however, be tested in accordance with an acceptance sampling scheme such that there is
			a probability of .05 or less of rejecting a lot with a proportion of defectives equal to an AQL of 1% or less, as set forth in 7 CFR part 43.

			(2) Each locomotive built before September 18, 2006 shall be tested in accordance with this section before June 24, 2010 to ensure that the horn installed on such locomotive
			is in compliance with paragraph (a) of this section.

			(3) Each remanufactured locomotive, as determined pursuant to  229.5 of this part, shall be tested in accordance with this section to ensure that the horn installed on such
			locomotive is in compliance with paragraph (a).

			(4)

				(i) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(4)(ii) of this section, each locomotive equipped with a replacement locomotive horn shall be tested, in accordance with
				paragraph (c) of this section, before the next two annual tests required by  229.27 of this part are completed.

				(ii) Locomotives that have already been tested individually or through acceptance sampling, in accordance with paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(2), or (b)(3) of this section,
				shall not be required to undergo sound level testing when equipped with a replacement locomotive horn, provided the replacement locomotive horn is of the same model
				as the locomotive horn that was replaced and the mounting location and type of mounting are the same.

		(c) Testing of the locomotive horn sound level shall be in accordance with the following requirements:

			(1) A properly calibrated sound level meter shall be used that, at a minimum, complies with the requirements of International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standard
			61672-1 (2002-05) for a Class 2 instrument.

			(2) An acoustic calibrator shall be used that, at a minimum, complies with the requirements of IEC standard 60942 (1997-11) for a Class 2 instrument.

			(3) The manufacturer's instructions pertaining to mounting and orienting the microphone; positioning of the observer; and periodic factory recalibration shall be followed.

			(4) A microphone windscreen shall be used and tripods or similar microphone mountings shall be used that minimize interference with the sound being measured.

			(5) The test site shall be free of large reflective structures, such as barriers, hills, billboards, tractor trailers or other large vehicles, locomotives or rail cars on
			adjacent tracks, bridges or buildings, within 200 feet to the front and sides of the locomotive. The locomotive shall be positioned on straight, level track.

			(6) Measurements shall be taken only when ambient air temperature is between 32 degrees and 104 degrees Fahrenheit inclusively; relative humidity is between 20 percent and
			95 percent inclusively; wind velocity is not more than 12 miles per hour and there is no precipitation.

			(7) With the exception of cab-mounted or low-mounted horns, the microphone shall be located 100 feet forward of the front knuckle of the locomotive, 15 feet above the top of
			the rail, at an angle no greater than 20 degrees from the center line of the track, and oriented with respect to the sound source according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
			For cab-mounted and low-mounted horns, the microphone shall be located 100 feet forward of the front knuckle of the locomotive, four feet above the top of the rail, at an
			angle no greater than 20 degrees from the center line of the track, and oriented with respect to the sound source according to the manufacturer's recommendations. The observer shall not stand between the microphone and the horn.

			(8) Background noise shall be minimal: the sound level at the test site immediately before and after each horn sounding event shall be at least 10 dB(A) below the level
			measured during the horn sounding.

			(9) Measurement procedures. The sound level meter shall be set for A-weighting with slow exponential response and shall be calibrated with the acoustic calibrator immediately
			before and after compliance tests. Any change in the before and after calibration levels shall be less than 0.5 dB. After the output from the locomotive horn system has reached
			a stable level, the A-weighted equivalent sound level (slow response) for a 10-second duration (LAeq, 10s) shall be obtained either directly using an integrating-averaging sound
			level meter, or recorded once per second and calculated indirectly. The arithmetic-average of a series of at least six such 10-second duration readings shall be used to determine
			compliance. The standard deviation of the readings shall be less than 1.5 dB.

			(10) Written reports of locomotive horn testing required by this part shall be made and shall reflect horn type; the date, place, and manner of testing; and sound level
			measurements. These reports, which shall be signed by the person who performs the test, shall be retained by the railroad, at a location of its choice, until a subsequent
			locomotive horn test is completed and shall be made available, upon request, to FRA as provided by 49 U.S.C. 20107.

		(d) This section does not apply to locomotives of rapid transit operations which are otherwise subject to this part.

[71 FR 47666, Aug. 17, 2006]


Bells
PRR Steam Locomotive Bell
Made at the PRR's Altoona Shops, this bell has four engine numbers stamped into it.
EMD Bronze Bell
Original bronze bell made by EMD with mounting bracket and air strainer.
UKM Steel Bell
Direct replacement for the bronze bell cheaper-made and with an inferior, but still effective sound.
Graham-White E-Bell
Modern day electric replacement for an air-operated bell. There are no moving parts.
Compare the sounds of these three bells on my YouTube video.


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