British Horn Etiquette ?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by olsbyn, Jan 4, 2022.

  1. olsbyn

    olsbyn Active Member

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    Where I live we have signage alongside the railroad for when to sound the horn, this seems not to be the case in UK, unless I missed something, so when and how do you guys use the loco horns ?
     
  2. triznya.andras

    triznya.andras Well-Known Member

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    There are actually whistle boards, depending on era / area they are a variation of W.
    Some crossings do not require whistling, a good example is the Portsmouth Direct Line, where only unguarded / unsignaled crossings (usually in the middle of nowhere) have a board. There is a slow trend of whistling less and less to avoid disturbing residential areas. There are other reasons to use the horn (e.g. to communicate setting off) but that's also getting history.

    I can imagine some routes missing the boards, in this case I presume route knowledge / instructions cover it. But it could be simply a route building issue. In some areas you'd also whistle before platforms to wake up stragglers.

    I don't use the horn in the dark because the game tells me I shouldn't. Where I live (non-UK), there used to be some whistling but can't recall hearing any in the past few years. Except a month ago during a successful suicide.
     
  3. olsbyn

    olsbyn Active Member

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    I actually found a website with all kinds of british signals and posts, I wonder though if the lack of them in many TS routes is because of artistic freedom from route developers or if it is because they are becoming more sparce in rl..hey what does it matter if your neighbour gets run over as long as you don't have to hear that awfull horn while you are taking your afternoon nap..right
     
  4. triznya.andras

    triznya.andras Well-Known Member

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    Let's begin with specifics: which route(s) are you thinking about?
     
  5. snapnfix

    snapnfix Member

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    Horn etiquette has changed over time. Current practice is to have whistle boards (usually just a 'W') where a horn is to be sounded. It was also standard practice to blow your horn before entering a tunnel, but that seems to be dying out. Horns are also used anywhere there is need to warn people near or on the track of your approach. The rules in this situation say you should sound high-low-high as the alternation in tone is better noticed by the brain and that the high note is better at getting trough ear defenders if they are being worn by workers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2022
  6. inversnecky

    inversnecky Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if it's changed, but I recall it was low tone at Whistle boards.
     
  7. olsbyn

    olsbyn Active Member

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    It's a general observation really, and besides the point of the thread, I want to know where and how except by whistle boards, which is a given.
     
  8. olsbyn

    olsbyn Active Member

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    @ snapnfix and inversnecky: Thank you very much, details like this matters for a layman, all small details that adds to immersion.
     
  9. james37611

    james37611 New Member

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    Interesting you should say that, as I've been using single low tones especially on the recently released Chatham Dover / Ramsgate route.

    Although not very recent, there is a Kent Coast Drivers Eye View from Ramsgate to Victoria by Video 125, anyone who knows of these DVDs will know they have narration.

    It's been a few years since I watched it, but I do know it was mentioned that the single low tone being used at crossings was used, and I can't remember the exact quote, but basically was something along the lines of noise disturbance and a single low tone is still able to be noticed by someone at a crossing..or something along those lines.

    When I'm out in my garden, which is near Trowbridge Station, depending in wind direction I can hear the horn of units passing the crossings towards Bradford-on-Avon, and they are always a single low tone
     
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  10. inversnecky

    inversnecky Well-Known Member

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    I enquired about this on the ever fascinating railforums website a few months ago and got some interesting replies.

    In summary, the policy is for low tone at W boards, and two tones as a general warning, eg on seeing trackside workers or at a level crossing; yet many drivers prefer to use two tones at boards, as that instantly distinguishes a train horn from a car one.

    https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/horn-tones.216103/
     
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  11. brummie

    brummie Active Member

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    An interesting thread indeed! One thing I'd like to know, are there certain times you are not supposed to sound your horn, ie before 6am. and say after 8pm?
    When playing scenarios I don't sound horn on very early runs or late ones.
     
  12. snapnfix

    snapnfix Member

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    I was slightly incorrect in what I said earlier. With regards current rules here is an excerpt from a recent RAIB (Rail Accident Investigation Board) report.

    "The Rule Book, GERT8000 module TW1 section 45.3, requires train drivers to give a series of short, urgent danger warnings to anyone who is on, or dangerously near the line, who does not: ‘acknowledge your warning by raising one arm above the head, or appear to move clear out of the way of the train.’ It also states that for an urgent warning, the high tone in the loud setting should be used. If the horn does not have manually available soft and loud settings, the setting which is provided must be used."

    This relates to a fatal incident in 2019 when two track workers were run down by a train, in part because the very noisy equipment they were operating drowned out the horn sounds.
     
  13. inversnecky

    inversnecky Well-Known Member

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    Yes, there is the NTQP (Night Time Quiet Period), which was recently reduced from 23:00-07:00 to 23:59-06:00 for safety reasons, as explained here:

    https://cdn.networkrail.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/FAQs-for-Night-Time-Quiet-Period-NTQP.pdf
     
  14. PhÜnKî_Rø0sTā

    PhÜnKî_Rø0sTā Active Member

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    Another question, what about on departure or arrival at stations?

    For example when you get the guard buzzer/bell, do you blow the horn on departure?

    Similarly, do you sound the horn when running express through a station?
     
  15. Reef

    Reef Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessing that was the Port Talbot/Margam incident?
     
  16. inversnecky

    inversnecky Well-Known Member

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    As far as I know, while it was common practice to sound horns when approaching a tunnel in times past, it's less so now.

    Similarly with departures. Some stations do have boards on entry, based on their individual cases.

    My impression is that the horn is only sounded at boards, or when deemed necessary as a warning by the driver (as per the rules).
     
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  17. 749006

    749006 Well-Known Member

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    Not sure where you are from Norway or USofA?
    In real life the uk railways are protected by fencing so your neighbour should not be on the track or lineside.
    The exceptions are crossings which fall in to three categories
    Controlled - where the gates close to stop all traffic which is confirmed by the person in charge
    Automatic Half Barrier - which have one barrier and traffic stops when the barrier lowers - these are operated by a treadle the train passes over on the approach.
    Open - where the driver sounds the horn to warn of it's approach - these are of a slower speed - sometimes as low as 10mph.
    Also in the open category are farm crossings and foot crossing. The Driver will sound the horn on approach to these.
     
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  18. brummie

    brummie Active Member

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  19. inversnecky

    inversnecky Well-Known Member

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    To add to what Peter said above, improved protection in terms of fencing means less need (hopefully!) to use the horn.
     
  20. olsbyn

    olsbyn Active Member

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    I am from Norway, so this is uncharted territory for me.
     
  21. 749006

    749006 Well-Known Member

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  22. snapnfix

    snapnfix Member

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    Yes it was. If you are interested in the full report and recommendations it's here.
     
  23. olsbyn

    olsbyn Active Member

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    749006 : That's a really nice image collection, you have probably seen more of the norwegian railway than I have, I have certainly not been as lucky as you getting a cab ride :)
    Where I grew up was along "Gjøvikbanen", so I have been riding the train alot, mostly in the 90's and early 2000. Now I live near "Valdresbanen" which unfortunately was closed down during the 90's, they haven even removed most of the tracks :/
    I've had the pleasure to see the Di3 though, it was used for both passenger transport and railfreight before it was retired, I remember the sound of it to this day, a diesel made quite an impression for someone used to electric loco's.
     
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  24. Reef

    Reef Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, thanks, I live within a stones throw from where it happened.
     
  25. inversnecky

    inversnecky Well-Known Member

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    Why does that loco have metal bars over the windows? Does it pass near falling rocks, or..?
     
  26. 749006

    749006 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, lots of places rocks could fall on to the track
    Later reinforced windows were fitted
    3-630.jpg
     
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  27. class2ldn2801

    class2ldn2801 Member

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    I'm a driver in the UK, at whistle boards we generally use the low tone, we are guided by whats in the rule book which gets updated every few months or so, outside of the time restrictions 0600-0000 we only use the horn to warn anyone whos in the immediate vicinity of us approaching so we don't use the whistle boards outside of them times unless there's someone in close proximity we need to warn.
    The rule for using the horn when entering tunnels has been gone a long time so generally we don't do it.
     
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  28. inversnecky

    inversnecky Well-Known Member

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    The Class 319 has quite a melifluous soud to its horn as it approaches a station here:



    At about 5:55 the driver toots the horn to alert lineside workers:

     
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  29. PhÜnKî_Rø0sTā

    PhÜnKî_Rø0sTā Active Member

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    Seen videos on YouTube of drivers in the UK imitating an old song -
    Ilkley Moor Baht 'at. Is that common or?
     
  30. Reef

    Reef Well-Known Member

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    I hear the Star Wars theme is quite popular, it gets the veg's pulses a racin'


    Can only apologise for the manure intro music, skip to 42 seconds to avoid ..
     
  31. 749006

    749006 Well-Known Member

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    It is at time when the driver sees somebody making a video but is wrong and the driver can get told off
     
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  32. PhÜnKî_Rø0sTā

    PhÜnKî_Rø0sTā Active Member

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    I don't know much about the song, but why is it wrong? Seems like a bit of harmless fun?
     
  33. 749006

    749006 Well-Known Member

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    It depends where the horn sounding is being done - there are people who don't wish to listen to people playing tunes on train horns no more that listening to idiots in cars going along sounding their horns .
     
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  34. Aryffordd

    Aryffordd Guest

    Did you used to go on school trips to Margam Park too then? They say the oranges will return one day…
     
  35. Reef

    Reef Well-Known Member

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    I did not grow up around here, I'm originally from further West, both my Sons did the Margam Park school trips though, only thing growing out of the orangery these days is sore arms. :D
     

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