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Thread: To Blow, or not to Blow- that is the question

  1. #1

    Default To Blow, or not to Blow- that is the question

    The blowing of one's horn and the ringing of one's bell- when, where, why, etc. cannot be easily answered.
    The best answer I can muster is: it depends.
    The parameters are not complex, but they are complicated by an extensive list of exceptions, zones, types of crossings, and the list continues.

    Blow thy horn ( 2 long, one short, one long ) at highway-rail grade crossings. That is the rule.
    It is followed by several pages of ... unless this or that. [reference DOT.gov]

    So this is what I did. I used the very cool TSW2 feature called "exploring on foot," visited every stop, and waited for a train. They come very quickly.
    Two interesting observations.
    1) the traffic gates are permanently down. That is to say, they never go up. No cars ever cross the tracks so I suppose it makes sense to just leave them down. Less work for the programming team.
    2) No trains blow their horns. EVER. They just haul ass right on through town. Quiet as mice. This makes perfect sense. All crossings are permanently closed, no automobiles are allowed to cross, and nobody is going to code up a blowing of the horn just because I am often sneaking around on foot.

    So, blowing ones horn while going over Sand Patch is a pain. Simply stated, going over Sand Patch is usually a nail-biter experience as it is, much less trying to watch out for those pesky crossings. Now that I know the "simulator" doesn't care about horns at crossings, (should I assume that?) I will no longer be making all that racket waking folks up and scaring away the animals.

    I don' t know whether it affects points or achievements or levels or partridges in pear trees. I don't pay any attention to those things. I am simply hoping to drive the train with as much realism as I can manage to do.

    Have a great day.

  2. #2
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    It's a game, do what you want.
    Vern.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebrecs View Post
    1) the traffic gates are permanently down. That is to say, they never go up. No cars ever cross the tracks so I suppose it makes sense to just leave them down. .....
    Makes perfect sense because if you are operating the locomotive, by the time you arrive at each crossing on your route the gates would be down.
    From the train you should never even see them being lowered.

    As Vern says, it's a game so play it your way. Which is exactly what I do in any of the train sims I have....I just use the normal Aussie practice and give one laconic blast on the horn and that's it.
    IBM XT i386; 512Kb RAM; 5.25" FDD; 1.4Mb FDD; 5Mb HDD; VGA 256-colour graphics card; AdLib soundcard; DR DOS 6.0; Windows 3.0

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    one laconic blast on the horn and that's it.
    Never could understand the obsession in North America of ringing that bloody bell every five seconds... It's the one thing that ruins just about every track side or even cab view ride when you want to appreciate the thrash of the engine and other ambient sound. What's so different in the USA or Canada that they have to use a bell at level crossings, whenever someone is (seemingly) about 50 feet from the lineside or even running into station platforms. Yes, it's a big heavy train and if you can't discern the approach from a quick blast on the horn or the rumbling as it gets near then you must be missing a few essential life skills...
    Vern.

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    I sort of half agree with Vern. I always disable the "horn rings bell" line in the player eng files but I WOULD kinda like the bell to ring on AI trains as they sound their horn at crossings (as facilitated by Carlos).
    Dell desktop. Intel i5 3.3 CPU. 8GB RAM. Nvidia GT710 2GB graphics. Windows Pro 64bit. RailDriver.

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    Here are the US rules for blowing the horn: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/part-222

    And just for fun, here are the specifications for the horns themselves, and test methods: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/229.129

    Railroads also have rules, which vary somewhat from one to another, for use of the bell; in practice, most railroads require it to ring at crossings, and wherever people might be. It's basically a safety thing - equipment is powered up and in use and people might be nearby - like construction equipment beeping when in gear. Personally, I find the sound of a bell (even an electronic one) is a little more pleasant than a fork lift's beeper...

    As for what horn signals mean, this is a good summary (appears to be based on UP or SP rules): https://www.eugene-or.gov/DocumentCe...Signals?bidId=
    Last edited by mikeebb; 01-06-2021 at 12:55 PM. Reason: Added note about bell and reference to horn signals summary

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeebb View Post
    Here are the US rules for blowing the horn.........
    To me, it's overkill.
    One decent blast on a horn a half-mile away and then maybe another beep as a crossing or platform is approached is all the warning that's needed.
    IBM XT i386; 512Kb RAM; 5.25" FDD; 1.4Mb FDD; 5Mb HDD; VGA 256-colour graphics card; AdLib soundcard; DR DOS 6.0; Windows 3.0

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebrecs View Post
    1) the traffic gates are permanently down. That is to say, they never go up. No cars ever cross the tracks so I suppose it makes sense to just leave them down. Less work for the programming team.
    2) No trains blow their horns. EVER. They just haul ass right on through town. Quiet as mice. This makes perfect sense. All crossings are permanently closed, no automobiles are allowed to cross, and nobody is going to code up a blowing of the horn just because I am often sneaking around on foot.
    Your assessment is correct, programming in gates that work was too much trouble for DTG, who forgot that you could move the camera (or your avatar) around freely. Ancient sims like MSTS and the original Trainz had working barriers, which says something if it was possible 20 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernWarrior View Post
    Never could understand the obsession in North America of ringing that bloody bell every five seconds... It's the one thing that ruins just about every track side or even cab view ride when you want to appreciate the thrash of the engine and other ambient sound. What's so different in the USA or Canada that they have to use a bell at level crossings, whenever someone is (seemingly) about 50 feet from the lineside or even running into station platforms. Yes, it's a big heavy train and if you can't discern the approach from a quick blast on the horn or the rumbling as it gets near then you must be missing a few essential life skills...
    Remember that our railways cover a much bigger geographical area, and correspondingly the infrastructure around it wasn't developed to the same extent as in Europe - both in lineside fencing and stations/platforms. Many stations were (and still are) in areas with level crossings for both passengers changing platforms and vehicles on crossings for roads at the very end of said platforms. The bell is an added audible reminder that a train is moving, which you might not hear if there are others already idling on other tracks. In Europe, where it is far harder to access the tracks anywhere, this isn't needed.

    The bell also is a warning device that is far quieter than the horn. As a child, I visited friends who lived in Cobourg, ON, which has the main CN and VIA line between Toronto and Montreal running through it. The frequency of trains and number of crossings meant a lot of horns, and at night you could hear them all through the town. By contrast, my wife's family lived with their back yard facing onto this same line in Scarborough, ON, near a crossing and station, and a local regulation forbid the horn except in emergencies, but the bell was fine (and much quieter) for that residential area.

    One other thing: the GO Train in Toronto and many other commuter services in North America run push-pull. The cab car doesn't make nearly as much noise as the locomotive 12 cars back.

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    I can't understand why there is a crossing bell if the barriers/gates don't actually move? I always thought the bell is activated because the barriers were coming down and not too cross the track until the train has gone past, maybe there is a slight interpretation problem in this respect!!!!

    Cheerz. Steve.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ex-railwayman View Post
    I can't understand why there is a crossing bell if the barriers/gates don't actually move? I always thought the bell is activated because the barriers were coming down and not too cross the track until the train has gone past, maybe there is a slight interpretation problem in this respect!!!!

    Cheerz. Steve.
    Steve, the gate bell still sounds (and the accompanying lights still flash) after the gates have lowered and form a barrier and it continues until the gates are vertical again.
    IBM XT i386; 512Kb RAM; 5.25" FDD; 1.4Mb FDD; 5Mb HDD; VGA 256-colour graphics card; AdLib soundcard; DR DOS 6.0; Windows 3.0

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