May 27, 2006
It has come to my attention that train horns can be quite hard to hear under certain situations. Often, noise from traffic can mask the air horns and even the sounds of the engines.
It seems the sounds from horns carry the most late at night and early morning. Also in the winter, when there is a lot of snow, the sound really travels.
There has been times I have been trackside and the train just sort of sneaked up on me. Very quiet engines, masked by traffic and other sounds. Also it seems that the trains do not always blow the horns for each crossing.
Other times you can hear trains comming from a long way off, depending on how many units are on the train, if they are older units, time of day, etc.
Newer locomotives can be very quiet too. Once the reach running speed is the time when they make the least noise. So be careful when you are trackside, you may not always hear the train before you see it.