Favorite/Least Favorite Train Horn?

For me;

Favorite: Old-cast P5. If angels could sing to us, they wouldn’t sound as beautiful as this horn.

Least favorite: Nathan Airchime M3H. I don’t know why, but something about this horn just doesn’t sound right. It sounds more like a knockoff horn than an actual train horn and is a huge air hog.

I love the Canadian horns, designed by the wonderful old man.

My favorite is the mighty M5. The very finest locie horn music ever conceived.

I agree with you that the M3H sounds like a pieced-together horn. Guess what? It was! The old man, who was on the Canadian board of transport ministers was the man responsible for the CBTM “general order 753”, which dictated all railroads’ locomotives whistles would blow the minor triad of D#, F#, A#. RES then started switching bells around on an M3 manifold until he got D#, F#, A. So he had the #4 bell’s flange machined down 1/4" to sharpen it to A# from A. The #2 bell, mounted on the #1 head flattened from E to D# (Eb) while the #3 bell on the #2 head went from G down to F#. So yeah, the M3H was cobbled together, but by the inventor of the multi-chime horn himself.

My least favorite horns are post 1952 Leslie SuperTyfons and any Prime MFG clones of Leslies.

One exception to the Leslies are the S3K chimes. These have the same minor triad as the M3H and K3, but far more pure and plaintive.

I see you like United Pacific chrome horns. I purchased this one at a truck stop for around $300. It sounds terrible, so I have removed all five trumpets and I will retune.

The 5 chime horn is awful. Heck, so is their 46129 3 chime horn. But the 46115 is a beast for the price (I paid 250 for mine w/ an upgraded 1/2" valve and tubing). Check this out.


Hmmmm… Not sure if i have a least fave train horn… Least fave horn in general would be hella supertones. But the most fave train horn to me would be… Leslie RS5T. If ghost trains of the dead have horns it would be those!

The RS5T is a VERY close second to the P5 for me. I love how commanding it is, like you know what your fate will be if you don’t get the hell outta the way of the oncoming train!

Send me a sound sample link please, I was considering either this or the 46115. I assume this is the most expensive UP horn yeah and loudest?

Hell no. The 46115 is by far the loudest. This one is about as loud as a 46129 which is just a generic triple chrome horn. It doesn’t sound that good either.

This is the United pacific 46131 yer? Strange that it’s supposedly not as loud, but it’s more expensive and bigger than the 4115, so I’m not complaining. Still would like to hear any sound samples you can provide though (fair sounding ones which exemplify just how proud you are of this horn too :D).

In a discussion with UKtrain-Hornyt, I said I would put a few pictures of my chrome horns here. Sorry, the UP 5-chime is broken down to components for its retune, if I ever get around to it…
On the left is my old Grover ‘train horn’, this came out right after the big trucker’s train horn fad started. This is an early one. I checked the Grover site and it looks like these are still made. I hope they’re all still made here in Los Angeles…Anyway, I love the large flares on the Grover. The Grover has its own manifold to deliver air to each horn. Very well made.
On the right is my 1933 Strombos. It is extremely heavy, all brass, right down to the fasteners. The chrome is peeling off, but the horn is 83 years old…Held up pretty darn good…It is quite loud and has tremendous power chambers. On the back of each chamber the tag reads: “Most Powerful Of All Signals”. This horn was designed and made in France, and sold here in the US. Second and third pictures are different views of the two same horns. This is pre-B—L, back then B—L was only making those reed-horns with the egg-looking power chambers.
The last picture is my custom-tuned Strombos 5-chime. It blows a G3 major 6th, 1st inversion, 2nd position, and when heard from, say, 1/2 mile, it sounds like a Human chorus. I do intend to contact Guinness Book of Records to enter this as the prettiest sounding air horn in the world. It does not sound like B—L’s current locomotive horn, but rather this sounds like playing a recording of a big-tag K5LA in slow motion and with very different timbre than the K…Sorry guys, all these horns are quite dusty, been awhile since I’ve blown them. My cat “The Pest” wanted in on the photos!! Anyhow, I have plenty of recordings of the 5-chime, I’ll post a few on my SoundCloud account.

Those Strombos look great … huge looking chambers. Would love to hear a sound clip if you have one.

You obviously never hornblasted the cat … otherwise he would not want in on the act when the horns come out :smiley:

Those horns are so old they’re pensioners in need of zimmer frames!!

My cats like airhorns…

Here is the closeup of one of the chamber-tags…

The preload is different on the original Strombos: The trumpets are threaded and the diaphragm valves directly on them. The trumpets actually have the diaphragm seat on their threaded ends. When the horn is blowing right, you clamp the trumpet tight (See the photos in the above threads, where you can see the clamps) so it won’t back out and the preload is lost and the bell silenced.

On the B—L-Strombos, the preload is on the back-cap, with an Allen screw which presses a plate against the diaphragm.

Would the cats still like them if they blasted when the pictures were taken? :eek:

Is that an N3, H5, and a K5H with adjustable back caps?

That cat that was hornblasted can be seen in the upper middle portion of that picture :smiley:

that figures…:wink: