Evocative railway sounds - what 'tingles your spine' ?

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by ac6000cw, 20 Apr 2015.

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  1. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    After I'd written the "Steam on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad" post here and commented on the sound of a steam whistle echoing across the valley, it got me thinking about other railway sounds that evoke memories with me, like:

    The 'ting' of signalbox block bells, the 'swish' of the signal wires as they are pulled taught, the 'thump' of the levers in the frame, and the 'creak and rattle' of the semaphore arms as they raise and lower.

    The drumming of the air compressor after a station stop on old EMUs and Underground trains. The hiss and sizzle of steam escaping on old steam-heated trains.

    I know everyone has their favourite locomotive sounds, but anyone else find the ancillary sounds of the railway interesting/evocative/memorable ? What are your favourites ?
     
    Last edited: 20 Apr 2015
  2. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    A 1st generation DMU accelerating away?

    The DB "bong" before the pre-departure announcement, followed by a faint whistle and the slamming of UIC-type autoclose slamdoors?
     
  3. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    The compressor on Southern Region stock with Electro-Pneumatic braking is very evocative for me, along with the sound of Thumper engines.

    Also the flap of train destination boards at big London terminals.
     
  4. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    Good one :)

    I had a ride on one (Mid-Norfolk railway) a few weeks ago after many years absence - it bought all the memories flooding back, including the rasping/rattling noises at idle (from the transmission ?)
     
  5. scarby

    scarby Member

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    Any sound whatsoever made by a first gen DMU.

    A shunter on the move.

    Class 40 or Deltic idling or moving off.

    Coach doors slamming.
     
  6. Temple Meads

    Temple Meads Established Member

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  7. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Apart from various steam sounds:
    the repeated knocking of class 306 contactors when making a bad job of serial to parallel changeover
    the low drone of a Underground 'O' or 'P' stock train with metadyne control
    The ticktickticktick tocktocktocktock of the pneumatic cam controls on the Central Line 1962 stock
    Underground air-operated pointwork, the characteristic pishhhhh-clunk
    The twanging of the track over the suicide pits in tube stations when a train is approaching
    The tube was my normal method of train travel until the '70s.
     
  8. andythebrave

    andythebrave Member

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    A Black 5 barking its way across the North Yorkshire Moors.
    A Deltic 'harrumph' after arrival at Kings Cross.
    A '37' going up the Cowlairs incline.
    I'm sure there are many more but my ageing mind won't regurgitate them at the moment.
    Oh, and an '87' going up Beattock.
     
  9. Haydn1971

    Haydn1971 Established Member

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    Nothing finer than the sound of a Pacer !

    Being crushed !
     
  10. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    B


    Nice one - along with the tic ..tic...tic of a 1938 / 1959 LT tube car (camshaft ?) accelerating away......or the sound of a Westinghouse application being made on an EPB to make sure the driver had a back-up brake.
     
  11. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    Yes, a very distinctive sound - are there any of those (Solari ?) 'flap' boards left on the railway ?
     
  12. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Alas, I don't think so. I understand the one at Brighton was rescued for preservation recently though.
     
  13. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
    A Networker, not a retractioned 1, slam doors of any kind, phil Sayer Announcements, valenta Class 43, a 158 with iether traction, screach of wheel on rail, Old style LU barriers, older LU Stock, a train passing at speed
     
    Last edited: 20 Apr 2015
  14. Committee man

    Committee man Member

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    Nobody has mentioned my favourite yet, the fly shunting of wagons. In the big yards it went on round the clock of course. Very reassuring but I'm not quite sure why.
     
  15. ilkestonian

    ilkestonian Member

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    The clunk clunk clunk of buffers hitting each other or the couplings stretching out as an unbraked freight slows or accelerates.
     
  16. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    The rhythmic tick-tick of the red painted segment clocks that were once so ubiquitous on stations all around the network. Very soothing whilst waiting for a train.
     
  17. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    "tick, tick, tick, t-t-tick"
     
  18. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    Interestingly my mother says a similar thing, when recalling the constant sounds of the yard that used to be down past the end of the street when she was a young girl. We lived opposite the site of said yard while I was growing up, but needless to say the railway had long been cleared away by that point.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    That's it exactly. :D
     
  19. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Have found myself stood under many of them in my time :lol:
     
  20. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    Many good ones above.

    Midnight New Year's Eve at Taunton steam shed. Someone got up onto every loco in steam out in the yard and opened up the whistle. Meanwhile all the date-expired detonators (which very conveniently expired at year end) were tied to a track and run over with a locomotive. The noise could be heard all across the town.
     
  21. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Sadly it seems DOO is causing the removal of the DB departure announcement (anyone remember "On platform N please board the train and close the doors, this train is ready for departure" you used to get here?) but here one is for posterity...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4lcjP8gbAc

    It was usual for the whistle to go and the doors to close well before the announcement had finished...
     
  22. Strathclyder

    Strathclyder Established Member

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    The old announcement tone at Glasgow Central. Can be heard in this video (skip to 14:19):
    [youtube]?v=kZAXFwzRdmU[/youtube]

    Central just isn't the same without it, if you ask me...
     
  23. GatwickDepress

    GatwickDepress Established Member

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    The slam of doors on assorted CIGs/CEPs/VEPs at a busy terminal station. One of the sounds I associated with the railway at a really early age.

    The "ding-ding" of the guard giving the bells as well. Much better than buzzers. ;)
     
  24. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    Agreed! Are there still any left?
     
    Last edited: 21 Apr 2015
  25. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

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    The turbocharger 'scream' of an accelerating Paxman Valenta 12RP200L engine as originally fitted to the HST power cars.
     
  26. Condor7

    Condor7 Member

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    When my children were younger we used to live close to the Aire Valley railway line and during the night sometimes one or the other of my children would wake and need comforting for some reason.

    Even though there was not a lot of night freight there was usually one or two and I used to get them to listen out for them. On a still night especially you could hear the diesels straining in the distance with their heavy load, sometimes the sound appearing faintly and then disappearing as it went behind an embankment or some other object, only to reappear slightly louder moments later, until it eventually roared past the house, only to disappear similarly in the other direction.

    More often than not they would fall asleep before ever hearing one, but it is a memory they still mention from time to time as being a great comfort to them, and I must admit I used to love it as well.
     
  27. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

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    The tap of the Carriage & Wagon examiner's hammer on the wheels as he went along the train. I don't know when it was phased out, but they were certainly still doing it at Birmingham New Street in the early 1970's.

    At the same location, the hiss-thump-clunk of the pneumatic point machines, sometimes followed by the noise of the point blades vibrating (those machines were very fast operating!)
     
  28. bishdunster

    bishdunster Member

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    The sound of an 08 ticking over and the engine "hunting" now and again, very nice;)
     
  29. OuterDistant

    OuterDistant Member

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    Has to be the "clank-clank, clank clank" sound of bogies going over a rail joint, at around 20-30mph for the most pleasing sound!
     
  30. Pigeon

    Pigeon Member

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    Sounds of an old-style DMU: the hollow rushing sound of the brakes being applied, the bzzt-bzzt of the guard's starting signal followed by a faster bztbzt as the driver acknowledges, the rapid clunking sound of the throttle and gear controls.

    Same DMU from outside: the blattering sound from the exhausts as the engines accelerate through a region of exhaust resonance, accompanied by heavy plumes of clag from the scavenging being disrupted.

    Camshaft motor controllers on Underground stock. A sigh and a clunking rattle as the doors close, then: Dvvv, dvvv, dvvdvvdvv, with a slight jerk accompanying each step... dvv, dvv, dvdvddddvdvvv, dvvdvvdvdddddd... >POP<, very loud, exactly like the sound made by putting your finger inside your cheek and flicking it out again, and a significant jerk the other way as the acceleration is suddenly cut. Pause while the camshaft returns, dvv, dvv, dvvdvdvdvvv....

    Announcements on Paddington station: "...so-and-so please contact the Area Manager's office", then they got fed up of saying that and shortened it to "...contact the AMO".

    The soothing cooing of some happy pigeons who have found a concealed nook somewhere up in the canopy, heard but not seen.

    The distant clankkerclunk heard from the platform as the signal 200 yards up the line is cleared; the train will be here in a couple of minutes.

    A literal tingle: brushing the back of your hand against the wire fence at the back of the platforms on Bescot station. Yay for electromagnetic induction.

    Class 40 in between retaining walls, pulling away. Prolonged burst of coughing from the exhaust, accompanied by a low whine rising in pitch; the coughing dies away as the driver eases the throttle, the whine hangs, throbbing, at a medium pitch, as if in anticipation. The train gets under way, and the driver opens the throttle right up. The whine winds up like a jet engine; bellowing thunder erupts from the exhausts, rebounds from the cutting walls, and thuds back into the train in a solid wall of sound, the turbos a searing whistle to accompany the rumbling, chest-shaking crescendo as the world fills with something beyond noise, an emanation of power so dense you can feel it...
     
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