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 Post subject: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:03 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:09 am
Posts: 55
One of the many things I love about steam locomotives is how many different whistles there were. Several companies, and multiple railroads, made various chimed whistles for steam locomotives to wear, and so many of them sounded absolutely amazing.

There are a few railroads that I am curious about what their whistles were. By chance, does anyone know what whistles were used/made by the following railroads?

Missouri Pacific | Delaware & Hudson | Lehigh & Hudson River | Kansas City Southern

I'm also trying to collect audio (either vintage or modern) of all the different steam whistles (from the varying companies/railroads and of varying chimes) blown with steam. So, would anyone be willing to say what steam whistles they know of? Any help is appreciated.

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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: Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:54 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2076
http://www.steam-whistles.com/

I have not seen a pure steam whistle to engine list anywhere, it would be very handy for modelers, its been mostly ask a question here or there. Model decoders have a bank of sounds in the decoder often with a list whats on them.

If you know what whistle where, why not post it here.

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:34 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3724
Location: Maine
A good start would be to check in with Chris Rizzoli. He constructs and collects classic whistles as a business, I believe in Tennessee.

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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:00 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 11:01 am
Posts: 27
Location: Orlando, FL
Chris, First, I would pick up a copy of "The Engines Moan" by Ed. Fagen. I don't know if it is currently in print, but I suspect getting one from eBay or a used bookseller would not be difficult. It is the most authoritative reference (really, the only reference) on steam whistles out there. Much of what you asked could be found in the book.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:20 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:09 am
Posts: 55
Thank you for your answers thus far.

I do have a few specific questions, and I would appreciate some feedback.

1) I know that Canadian Pacific #2816 has 2 whistles. I also know that 1 is air-powered, and the other is steam-powered. Are they both the same kind of whistle, like a Canadian Pacific 5 chime (but the way that they are powered accounts for the difference in sound), or are they 2 completely different kind of whistles? If they are 2 different whistles, what are they?

2) I know that some whistles have step tops and some have long bells/short bells. How are these descriptions spelled? Is it step top & long bell/short bell, or is it step-top & long-bell/short-bell? Also, do you say the step-top or long-bell before or after the chime (Hancock long-bell 3 chime OR Hancock 3 chime long-bell)? Lastly, is the chime capitalized (Soo Line 6 Chime OR Soo Line 6 chime)?

3) Is a Mann's Creek 3 chime its own whistle, or is it basically a Crosby 3 chime?

I just want to make sure I'm understanding everything correctly.

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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: Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:36 am 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 11:01 am
Posts: 27
Location: Orlando, FL
Chris, I don't know the answer to what whistles 2816 currently carries, but the reason the same whistle would sound different blown on air and then steam is the speed of sound varies in different fluids. The speed of sound in air at about 20 degrees C is approximately 1125 ft/sec. In steam, (100C), it's about 1558 ft/sec. The whistle would sound a higher pitch blown on steam.

Other than normal rules of English and perhaps conventions in technical writing, there isn't a set way to describe whistles. Proper names are of course capitalized. Soo, Hancock, Manns Creek for example. Other than that it's pretty much up to the individual. Personally, I usually say something like: Hancock step top (or flat top) long bell 3 chime.

A Crosby whistle used on a Manns Creek locomotive is still a Crosby, manufactured by them. It was just used on a particular locomotive owned by a certain railroad. If the Manns Creek shops built a shopmade whistle, it could more accurately be described as a Manns Creek whistle.

Determining the provenance of whistles is difficult. They were an appliance required by the government, and the railroads were not as sentimental about them as we are. They were moved among locomotives when necessary, and there are whistles out there that have been used by more than one railroad. Other than the person that saw a whistle removed from a certain locomotive, many claims are suspect. Remember that human greed enters in to the picture. The tendency to claim a certain whistle came from a certain locomotive to increase its potential value is common. The Hancock long bell three chime is a perfect example. The Union Pacific Big Boys carried whistles of this type. There were only 25 Big Boys. However, if you take all the claims at face value, there must be hundreds of Big Boy whistles out there.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:51 pm
Posts: 81
SteamEnthusiast4000 wrote:
Thank you for your answers thus far.

I do have a few specific questions, and I would appreciate some feedback.

1) I know that Canadian Pacific #2816 has 2 whistles. I also know that 1 is air-powered, and the other is steam-powered. Are they both the same kind of whistle, like a Canadian Pacific 5 chime (but the way that they are powered accounts for the difference in sound), or are they 2 completely different kind of whistles? If they are 2 different whistles, what are they?

2) I know that some whistles have step tops and some have long bells/short bells. How are these descriptions spelled? Is it step top & long bell/short bell, or is it step-top & long-bell/short-bell? Also, do you say the step-top or long-bell before or after the chime (Hancock long-bell 3 chime OR Hancock 3 chime long-bell)? Lastly, is the chime capitalized (Soo Line 6 Chime OR Soo Line 6 chime)?

3) Is a Mann's Creek 3 chime its own whistle, or is it basically a Crosby 3 chime?

I just want to make sure I'm understanding everything correctly.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:37 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:51 pm
Posts: 81
If I recall correctly, both 2816's whistles are sounded by steam. Some CP locos had an air operated, whistle valve to admit steam to the whistle resulting in abrupt, unpleasant (IMHO) whistle blasts that no doubt, conserved a bit of steam over time.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:15 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:03 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Pennsylvania
The second whistle was added during the restoration and apparently is off of CPR Selkirk 5935. It was added so that 2816 would meet Transport Canada decibel level requirements. It is also operated by the fireman.

http://www.okthepk.ca/dataCprSiding/news/2009/09012006.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:32 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 8:03 pm
Posts: 905
Location: Brampton, Ontario
Gord M wrote:
If I recall correctly, both 2816's whistles are sounded by steam. Some CP locos had an air operated, whistle valve to admit steam to the whistle resulting in abrupt, unpleasant (IMHO) whistle blasts that no doubt, conserved a bit of steam over time.


Many engines were equipped with a device called the Viloco Whistle Operator and it is a small pneumatic piston that acts on the same whistle valve that the pull cord is attached to, and is operated by a control in the cab.

When it is used, it produces a distinct sound from the whistle, compared to when the whistle is being blown via the pull cord, and I guess you could describe it as being all the way open or all the way closed. There is no quilling of the whistle as there is with the pull cord.


Attachments:
File comment: Viloco Whistle Operator Valve
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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:12 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 950
I can recall hearing the Viloco device sarcastically referred to as a "button whistle." The CP 1200-series Pacifics were so equipped, I know that for certain.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:09 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:09 am
Posts: 55
Can 1 whistle be set up to run off of both air and steam? I ask because it appears that Canadian Pacific #2816 uses air on her whistle up front (near the smokestack) fairly often. However, in the video "Rocky Mountain Express", #2816 blew her whistle up front with steam. You can hear the sound difference (and see the steam come out of the whistle).

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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: Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:22 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8353
Location: Baltimore, MD
SteamEnthusiast4000 wrote:
Can 1 whistle be set up to run off of both air and steam? I ask because it appears that Canadian Pacific #2816 uses air on her whistle up front (near the smokestack) fairly often. However, in the video "Rocky Mountain Express", #2816 blew her whistle up front with steam. You can hear the sound difference (and see the steam come out of the whistle).


In theory it's of course possible. However, it's exceedingly inefficient, as compressed air has nowhere near the reserve of a steam boiler, even if the reservoirs were the same size. Think of an air reservoir being just a tank of compressed air, and a boiler being a big tank of superheated liquid steam. This is why steam locos used air horns only rarely (SP Gs-4's and Milwaukee streamlined steam are two examples, both for running high speed in foggy weather), and air horns (far more efficient use of air) replaced air whistles early on.

It's possible for a steam whistle to blow without the characteristic puffy clouds of steam, particularly in a hot and arid environment--such as Santa Fe 3751 crossing Arizona.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:02 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2091
Location: Northern Illinois
... And that whistles designed to be operated on air were considerably smaller than steam whistles. The common Westinghouse 12" "trombone" whistle, used on many interurban cars, is only about 1-3/4" in diameter.

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 Post subject: Re: Steam locomotive whistles
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:05 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 428
From the NPRHA Archives


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