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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:38 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:08 pm
Posts: 9
Ok here is the real story regarding #2816's whistle's, I know because I was there. The original saturated steam whistle was full of mud wasp nests when it came from steamtown and thus found to be in very poor condition. It was used to make a pattern to have a new whistle cast which the engine currently wears; the original whistle was sent back to steamtown with the stoker motor, screw, and all other original parts that weren't used. The return of unused parts was part of CP's agreement with steamtown.

After the engine was operated a couple years it was found that the original whistle was very hard on the ears of the operating and pilot crews, it was decided that a second whistle be added. In keeping with CPR practice and to reduce the noise in the cab it would be mounted behind the stack. In the fall of 2003 CPR 5935 lent 2816 its superheated, air actuated STEAM whistle and it was mounted. Because it uses superheated steam and is air actuated (on/off) it has a different sound to it, it is however proper. Later Royal Hudsons, Pacifics, Mikados, and Selkirks all have the same whistle in the same location.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:07 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:09 am
Posts: 74
whitworth wrote:
After the engine was operated a couple years it was found that the original whistle was very hard on the ears of the operating and pilot crews, it was decided that a second whistle be added. In keeping with CPR practice and to reduce the noise in the cab it would be mounted behind the stack. In the fall of 2003 CPR 5935 lent 2816 its superheated, air actuated STEAM whistle and it was mounted. Because it uses superheated steam and is air actuated (on/off) it has a different sound to it, it is however proper.


First, thank you "whitworth" for providing the information you have about #2816.

Second, let me make sure I understand this correctly (and please correct me if I'm wrong). Both whistles on #2816 are steam powered. However, one of them is air actuated, and the other is controlled manually. So, this whistle being used in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFwBcidiVP8) is the air actuated whistle, and the whistle being used in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plHipv3SdEQ) is the manually controlled whistle. Is that correct?

Also, are both of the whistles on #2816 CP 5 chimes? If they aren't, what are they?

Lastly, can they switch which whistle is air actuated? I ask because it seems like the whistle near the smokestack is generally the one that is air actuated. However, in "Rocky Mountain Express", it appears that whistle is manually operated.

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- Diesels are boxcars with an engine, but steam is an iron horse.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:27 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:08 pm
Posts: 9
Yes, both whistles are steam, one is controlled with a rope and lever and the other is controlled by compressed air opening the operating valve on the whistle. They are both 5 chime.
No they can't switch, the Selkirk whistle can't be operated by hand and the Hudson whistle can't be operated by air.
I didn't hear any whistle in your first video, but you are correct that the manual hudson whistle is being used in the second.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:42 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:08 pm
Posts: 9
One last thing on the topic, attached is part of the CPR Royal Hudson erection drawing showing the location of the superheated whistle. It can't be operated by hand...


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:48 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:09 am
Posts: 74
whitworth wrote:
Yes, both whistles are steam, one is controlled with a rope and lever and the other is controlled by compressed air opening the operating valve on the whistle. They are both 5 chime.
No they can't switch, the Selkirk whistle can't be operated by hand and the Hudson whistle can't be operated by air.
I didn't hear any whistle in your first video, but you are correct that the manual hudson whistle is being used in the second.


First, thank you very much "whitworth". You have answered a lot of my questions.

Regarding the first video link, the whistle I'm referring to starts at ~5:30. If you still can't hear it, try from this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhWCQaIWce4). I'm assuming that is the air actuated 5 chime. Also, why does the air actuated whistle sound different between those two videos and when #2816 was in "Rocky Mountain Express"? Here's an example of #2816 in that movie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjFgJ9dA5z8).

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Chris H.

- Diesels are boxcars with an engine, but steam is an iron horse.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:57 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:09 am
Posts: 74
First, I want to say that I appreciate all the information that people have been giving me regarding steam whistles.

Second, I have a few quick questions. 1) Does anyone know what whistle Reading #2102 wore when she was cosmetically changed to resemble D&H 4-8-4 #302 (whether it was a D&H or any other special whistle)? 2) Does anyone have an idea what whistle T&P #610 wore? I've only heard audio of her whistle being blown once, and I have no idea what kind of whistle it is. 3) I really badly want to know if the Missouri Pacific made their own whistles or if they just bought whistles to use (and what whistles those would have been).

Any information, or help, you can share would be greatly appreciated. Merry Christmas!

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Chris H.

- Diesels are boxcars with an engine, but steam is an iron horse.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:52 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 355
Location: Danbury, CT
I should think that the folks at the Texas State Railroad would be able to tell you about 610’s whistle. There may even be an employee-type or two lurking here.

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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:15 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 706
Location: Warren, PA
I was given a 'old train whistle' as a teenager by a friend of my fathers and it took me 20 years and the internet to "prove" the story behind it, and its still not 100%. It also gave me a lot of unintended education on whistles.

Certain railroads definitely standardized on certain whistle types, so if you have a whistle that doesn't meet up with a company spec, at least be rather suspicious. The story behind my little Crosby coming off LV looked like complete BS as they standardized on what looks like a Lonergan style during the final steam era, and big ones at that. I'd dismissed the entire story until I found a single shop switcher in Sayre with a little Crosby on it, so you never know for sure...really. Mine even had a base 4-digit stamping on it that looked like a locomotive number, but doesn't match up with any roster of anything anywhere.

The other thing to remember is that whistles were whistles, and everybody from factories to steamboats to donkey engines used them for communication. I had the privilege to visit a maritime insurance office a couple weeks ago where the owner is a whistle fan, and I was 'blown away' by his whistle collection, including one reportedly off a WWII Japanese battleship. And lots and lots of other beautiful work, including Crosby. But to my comparatively uneducated eyes, most could have passed for locomotive whistles as marine ones unless you heard them.

I've had my little Crosby at a whistlefest on compressed air and recorded it, and got it down to a friends steam locomotive last year and recorded that - wow, no comparison at all on sound. Completely different.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:21 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:07 pm
Posts: 29
[quote="Randy Gustafson"] Mine even had a base 4-digit stamping on it that looked like a locomotive number, but doesn't match up with any roster of anything anywhere.[/quote]


This stamping was a batch number that Crosby applied to all their chime whistles.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:55 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8950
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
And another thing to be aware of is that anyone that goes to a decent tool/supply store can acquire number stamp dies allowing you to stamp any numbers or letters one wishes on something like a brass casting. It's not unique to railroad shops or the like.

It's become a safe assumption by now that for every set of numbers or whatever that was applied to a steam whistle during its working days by an industrial owner for whatever reason (inventory, etc.), there's another out there that was applied by a later owner in an attempt to (perhaps fraudulently) pass off the whistle as something else, or to say what loco/etc. it (supposedly) came off of. Peruse eBay or the like long enough, and you will become bemused or outraged at the people attempting to pass off--sadly, sometimes successfully--a far-too-small steam or air whistle as "NYC" or having come off a Big Boy because of what is rather obviously later number or letter stamps.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:56 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:09 am
Posts: 74
I have 2 small additional questions to ask pertaining to steam whistles.

1) Was there ever such a thing as a Hancock 6 chime whistle? I'm trying to determine what whistle is used by LS&I 2-8-0 #33 (from the Age of Steam Roundhouse), but, so far, I haven't had much luck.

Here are 2 links to videos of #33 whistling.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xsbThc6NLI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hltJmTHxb9w

Based off of stills, it appears that #33 was/is wearing a 6 chime. One person has said that she was/is wearing a Hancock 6 chime, but I've never heard of that specific whistle before. Has anyone else ever heard of a Hancock 6 chime? If it isn't that, does anyone have a guess as to what whistle she is wearing? I'd really like to know.

2) Did the Texas & Pacific have 2 different kinds of 3 chime whistles? I've seen 2 videos of T&P 3 chimes being blown, but they appear (and sound) very different.

The one being blown by the Museum of the American Railroad appears to have short chimes and has a higher tone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU7DNkZtG1I

However, the one being blown on Southern Pine Lumber Co. 2-8-0 #28 (T&P #610's whistle) appears to have long chimes and has a lower tone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iBjxLBEhcQ

Can anyone help shed some light on this?

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Chris H.

- Diesels are boxcars with an engine, but steam is an iron horse.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:18 pm 
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Posts: 1127
Location: Beaumont, Texas
Randy Gustafson wrote:
The other thing to remember is that whistles were whistles, and everybody from factories to steamboats to donkey engines used them for communication. I had the privilege to visit a maritime insurance office a couple weeks ago where the owner is a whistle fan, and I was 'blown away' by his whistle collection, including one reportedly off a WWII Japanese battleship. And lots and lots of other beautiful work, including Crosby. But to my comparatively uneducated eyes, most could have passed for locomotive whistles as marine ones unless you heard them.


Slightly off-topic; but many years ago I worked at petrochemical plant on the Texas Gulf Coast. At one point, my office was in the building next door to the process lines.

Every now and then, I would hear what sounded like a British chime whistle. I thought I was imagining things; until I was told that there was indeed a whistle in the process line building, used by operators to communicate over the machinery noise from one end of the building to the other.

The old boilerhouse also had a steam whistle on top; someone else grabbed it before the building was demolished. I think the old Santa Fe Cleburne shops have a whistle that was continued to be sounded even after Santa Fe sold the complex to another firm.

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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:55 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 98
Location: Philadelphia, PA
On RDG's Iron Horse Rambles, on the first trip, 2124 had the original single-chamber freight whistle; on the last 1959 trip, 2124 had a 6-chime passenger whistle which blew to the right (steam in engineer's sightline). For the 1960 series, 2124 still had the passenger chime, but it blew to the left now. When 2100 returned to service, it retained its freight whistle, contrasting with 2124's chime.

When 2124 was retired, 2100 received a passenger chime and 2102 returned to service with its freight whistle.

For one ramble, 2124 carried the whistle from Baldwin watertube firebox, 3-cylinder compound 4-10-2 60000 which is on display at the Franklin Institute.

For display at Reading Outer Station in June, 1960, (Turning point of a Ramble from Williamsport) shop switcher 0-6-0T 1251 received a passenger chime and an extended whistle cord that hung out the cab window so anybody could blow it. You could clearly hear it up at the Pagoda on Mt. Penn!

Phil Mulligan


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