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The Diesel Air Horn & Its Devotees

Click on each picture for a closer look!
Many of us remember the wonderful sound of steam engine whistles as we were growing up. As diesel locomotives began to replace steam on most railroads, it was realized that the new locomotives were unable to efficiently utilize the steam whistles then in use. Early internal combustion locomotives were initially fitted with small truck horns or exhaust-powered whistles, but these were found to be unsuitable and so the air-driven horn design was scaled up and modified for railroad use as shown in the image at upper left. The Wikipedia entry for “Train Horns” is extensive, worth reading and describes their function as follows:

“Train horns are audible warning devices found on most diesel and electric locomotives. Their primary purpose is to alert persons and animals to the presence of a train, especially when approaching a grade crossing. They are also used for acknowledging signals given by railroad employees (i.e. during switching operations).”
What is especially fascinating is that there are avid collectors of diesel air horns out there! Not only do they collect these air horns but, as shown in the images at the upper right, they mount them on trucks and other vehicles, add compressors and then enjoy delivering the diesel air horn sound. Click on the video below to experience them.
One of their most avid collectors, Ed Kaspriske of Horns Inc., has established a website devoted to diesel air horns. Click on this link to visit their website and click on this page as well where they have recordings of dozens of different diesel air horns for our listening pleasure.
Posting by Russ Milland & Picture from the Diesel Air Horns Website.

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